Panic as Redbourn’s only full-time day nursery closes
- Credit: Archant
Parents of a long-standing village nursery are in uproar after being told it is closing in a matter of weeks.
The Redbourn House Day Nursery, which looks after babies and toddlers, announced the closure to parents with barely any notice.
It has been run by the Kiddi Caru Day Nurseries Group for the past few years, which provides childcare provision at various sites across central and southern England.
Many Redbourn families have been left distraught and panicking as to what they will do with their children from November 8, when the full time childcare they have been relying on will be non-existent.
Mum, Clare Hood, of East Common, said: "My daughter is three and has been going there since she was nine months old.
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"We have always been very happy with the childcare there and the staff are great. What is really upsetting is the lack of consideration for my daughter's emotional well-being in terms of the transition. The short notice is horrific and I work full-time as does my husband. I am so concerend about the impact on her having to settle somewhere else so quickly."
Parents have set up a group to help fight the decision or try to negotiate an extended time period to help find their children another setting which is appropriate.
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They have made contact with the owner of the business but as of yet their stance remains the same.
Redbourn mum, Maria Nazarova-Doyle, said she is very concerned by closure announcement: "It has supported working families in the village since 1989 and is the only option for full-time care for babies from only a few weeks old until kids leave for school.
"The group which took over a few years ago has decided to exit abruptly without any kind of consultation.
"Kiddi Caru's behaviour has been totally unethical as they accepted a pre-school class in September, obviously knowing they may not continue. They own the building and it is in a prime location. I strongly believe they are going to make more money selling it than providing a vital service to the community."
Another mum who has two children at the nursery said: "I would never have put my youngest child into Redbourn House if I knew they were going to be closing.
"The atmosphere is very strained at the nursery at the moment. Children are upset and not sleeping - it is causing a great deal of anxiety. The consequences are far-reaching for our community."
Dad Kerry Hood said: "Basically, we are disgusted with the way it has been done. The reasons are not valid reasons. There is a local college that trains 60 nursery nurses a year and the nursery did not work with the college to recruit staff.
"I am concerned about my daughter's emotional well-being because she is being torn away from her friendship group."
Mum Sarah Parr said: "When they were taken over there was a huge shift from child-centred care to it being more business-focussed. The fees went up straight away, they took out the organic meals and they seem to have had difficulty retaining staff. Now this has happened. I am a single mum and it will really impact me. I now have to find someone who will look after my daughter for four full days a week to enable me to continue to be a working mum."
She added: "My little girl has made such strong friendship groups and the split of that will be really hard for us all emotionally."
Sarah Mackenzie believes that the situation could have been avoided or at least managed better: "The company were continuing to advertise for vacancies for children right up until recently which will have added more pressure on staff and made it more difficult for parents.
"Had they have pre-empted the problem, they could have sold it to another childcare provider rather than closing."
Caron Moseley, on behalf of child care company Kiddi Caru Group said: "It is with deep regret that we have made the decision to permanently close the doors of Redbourn House Day Nursery on Friday, November 8.
"This decision had not been made lightly, with many factors being considered before reaching this conclusion."
The owners say that staffing at the nursery has been 'a continual struggle with the ongoing difficulties to recruit staff' which has led to increasing reliance on agency staff. Caron added: "Our priority is to assist and support the families, where possible, in the next four weeks, with finding alternative childcare and our management team have up to date information on the current availability of day nurseries in the local vicinity."
"We have, in the last 24 hours, recieved communication from some interested parties regarding the future of the nursery which we are considering."