Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Pre-school closes due to lack of children

BENSON Pre-School will close in July because of a lack of children.

BENSON Pre-School will close in July because of a lack of children.

Last month, it was given a reprieve at an extraordinary general meeting of its committee, staff and parents after a motion to close it was narrowly defeated.

But no new committee has been found to run the pre-school, which operates from the youth hall in Oxford Road, so it must close.

Up to six posts, including the manager, deputy manager and four assistants, will go.

A statement from the committee said: “It is with much sadness and regret that we are writing to inform you Benson Community Pre-School will close on Friday, July 17.

“As has been stated in all previous correspondence relating to the possible closure, the situation had become untenable from September 2015 with not only low numbers on the roll but no new committee and a financially unsustainable future.

“The committee wishes to thank the staff for their patience and understanding over the last few weeks given the uncertainty of the situation. They have continued to do their job in extremely difficult circumstances for which we are very grateful.

“We are also acutely aware that the pre-school has been running for a long time and that this is something to be celebrated.

“In the next couple of weeks the committee will be meeting to draw up plans for both the winding down of the charity, the closure and the possible celebratory events.

“If you have any suggestions or comments you would like to make regarding how we go about this then we welcome them all. We hope to involve as many people as possible past and present.”

The meeting in April heard that the nursery had lost £5,700 last year and was forecast to lose more than £15,000 this year with only three or four children due to continue in September.

The meeting heard the pre-school’s lack of popularity could have been caused by the condition of the hall, the time needed to set up, the lack of space to store equipment and the limited outdoor area. An open day attracted only one parent.

The pre-school has reserves of £25,500, which represents three months of running costs and provision for staff redundancies.

Benson Primary School is considering lowering its age of admission and establishing a nursery class.

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