Hundreds of concerned parents are fighting to save their children’s NHS-run nursery – after health bosses decided to axe it.
Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber Healthcare Trust wants to close the Warren Nursery, a facility which is used by around 200 youngsters within the site of St Catherine’s Hospital, in Balby
It means around 40 staff, many of them on casual contracts, could lose their jobs unless suitable work can be found for them at the NHS trust which runs the nursery.
But parents say their children are happy there and and have over 1,000 names on an electronic petition against the closure.
They are calling for a motion of no confidence in the board of directors of the trust on the back of the petition.
Bosses say they are closing the site after it was slated by Ofsted earlier this year in a report, and say they are struggled to find staff.
Historically, the nursery which was first opened in 1991, it has been rated as outstanding. As recently as 2016 it was expanding.
The petition was set up by dad Chris Dunne, whose toddler Daisy has been attending the nursery for six months. He says he has received overwhelming support.
His wife works for the NHS, like many of the mums who use the nursery, along with residents from the Balby community.
They are among hundreds who have stood up and said they want the nursery to be kept open.
Mr Dunne said: “The parents of children and families that attend The Warren Nursery were notified of the notice of closure, without any forewarning, and given eight weeks' notice.
“Those who have made the decision need to be held accountable for their actions, without taking full consideration the wider impact of the closure this will have on children, parents, and families.
“Parents shouldn't have the stress to find a new setting, that will have to suit not only their child but; budget, location, start / closing times etcetera. Its not something you can jump into with eight weeks notice.”
He added: “What the staff have done to turn things around since the Ofsted inspection has been second to none. You can see the changes every day as the staff look at the issues that have been highlighted.”
Parents have flocked to back the campaign.
Holly Emery, a mum whose children previously attended said: “My children thrived here. The staff are second to none and have bonds with the children in their care. Moving children with no real genuine reason is wrong, upsetting the parents and expecting them to find anywhere close enough that is decently priced – some nurseries charge ludicrous prices a few short miles away – and turfing out such hardworking and caring staff is disgusting. The community of families that rely on the Warren deserve better.
Grandmother Elizabeth Ekici added: “My grandson goes here and he loves it and I believe it is the best place for him to continue his development.”
Charles Peel has seen both his son and his granddaughter attend the nursery. He said: “As a professional health and safety manager for more years than I can remember I have watched the staff interaction with the children, the children’s play etcetera whilst collecting my son and my granddaughter from this nursery and trust me if I had seen anything that worried me I would have reported it and made one hell of a fuss.
“I have not had to do this. Procedures may be a bit off but that is a easy fix, not a good reason to close down a good nursery”
He has offered to give any health and safety advice that is needed.
Another mum, Sara Jarvis: “Our twins have been here since they were 10 months. They are happy, confident and love the staff there. Maybe it needs some TLC but this is extreme and about cost! Ridiculous decision with zero empathy or consideration for the effort of the team and the impact on the children.”