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Nurseries face axe
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
PARENTS have been told that unless they run a group of nurseries themselves they will be axed.
The parents are now working on a business plan to save the centres in Lewisham.
Lewisham Mayor, Sir Steve Bullock made the decision at a Mayor and Cabinet meeting on Wednesday of last week.
He said parents would have to come up with a viable business plan by October this year so they could take over the running of the nurseries or see them closed.
He agreed an independent advisor would be drafted in to look at any proposals. The council had wanted to shut its early childhood centres in Rushey Green, Ladywell and Honor Oak Park in August to save around £2.2million a year.
But the plans would lead to 78 staff losing their jobs and angered mums and dads, who want the nurseries to remain open because they say there is a lack of affordable childcare nearby.
They say it would mean many having to give up work to look after their children instead.
Cathy Dearson, whose two-year-old daughter goes to the Honor Oak centre, said the decision was the best campaigners could have hoped for.
She said: “We presented a report to the mayor arguing our case.
“He agreed we have until October to come up with a viable business plan to run them as social enterprises.
“All the parents have worked really hard on this and we are very keen to make it work.
“We all know budget cuts have to be made but these are excellent centres and are vital for parents with young children.
“They enable parents to go out and get training and jobs, which is invaluable.”
Fellow mum and campaigner Kate Maloney, added: “This is all about the quality of the service provided there.
“The facilities have just been refurbished at Ladywell and Honor Oak and it would just be wasteful to let a high quality service close because the council cannot fix the financial problems.”
Sir Steve Bullock said: “I’m delighted that parents and staff will be working alongside the council to find a solution.
“No one wants to see the nurseries close, but the reality is the council cannot continue to provide some parents with a subsidy on this scale when others don’t receive anything.”
Should the council continue to run the nurseries?
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