Thursday, 05 August 2021

Parents launch appeal after saving nursery

PARENTS who stepped in to save Charvil pre-school have launched a fund-raising appeal.

PARENTS who stepped in to save Charvil pre-school have launched a fund-raising appeal.

They need new toys and equipment for the 40 children who attend the nursery at Jubilee Hall in Park View Drive North.

The pre-school was set to be closed at its annual meeting in June until seven parents stepped in to take charge.

The new chairman is Johannes Burger, whose three-year-old son Elliot goes to the pre-school.

The rest of the committee comprises treasurer Mark Donlan, administrator Sarah Stonhold, Brenda Cowdery, who deals with Ofsted and council liaison, and fund-raisers Carolyn Hobbs, Victoria Sanchez and Ruth Cowdery.

Mr Burger, who lives in East Park Farm South and runs a catering business, said: “The pre-school is very old — at least 40 years — and it’s a charity so it needs a committee of at least five members.

“At the annual meeting we were told by the former committee that the school was going to close.

“Some of the funding from Wokingham Borough Council was withdrawn due to an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted report in March. We were in a situation where we had to form a committee that evening in order to keep the school open for the next morning, so we had a time-out at the meeting and ended up forming the  committee.”

Since then, a new Ofsted report shows the pre-school is improving and it has also repaid £2,000 to the borough council.

The school can currently cover its running costs and the wages of six staff but wants to buy more items for pupils including tablet computers and pay to upgrade the IT system.

Mr Burger said: “Not a lot happened in the last year in terms of fund-raising but the new committee is full of energy and life.

“As a committee, we decided fund-raising should be a very active part of the school.

“We are a charity and not affiliated or funded like other pre-schools. As parents, we need to be more involved with fund-raising and organising events.

“The problem the school has always had is there’s never a surplus as whatever comes in goes on staffing and running costs. We are very much reliant on fund-raising and donations. We have got to run it as a business because we can’t keep going like this.

“As it is, the funds we receive from parents and the borough council cover our costs but we don’t have any money to spend on the children’s education.

“The school takes anyone from two-and-a-half to four years old. We need more children but we also don’t have a proper website so we need assistance with that and other volunteering.”

In October, an auction evening will be held at the village hall and Mr Burger hopes to hold an Oktoberfest celebration in November.

The pre-school has been given free use of the hall for two events by Charvil Parish Council and also invited to apply for a grant.

Mr Burger said: “We want to keep the school open because it has been in the community for so long and it’s where we want our children to go.

“There aren’t a lot of pre-schools available in the area — most are either full or driving distance away.

“The pre-school is a big part of the community and we need to keep it going. Nobody wants to see it close.”

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