Parents fight for nursery

Parents gather at Wellholme Park Surestart Centre to campaign against the potential closure of the nursery
Parents gather at Wellholme Park Surestart Centre to campaign against the potential closure of the nursery

PARENTS are preparing to fight to protect the future of a nursery.

Wellholme Park Children’s Centre has been identified as one of six centres in Calderdale that could have its funding withdrawn.

Parents gather at Wellholme Park Surestart Centre to campaign against the potential closure of the nursery

Parents gather at Wellholme Park Surestart Centre to campaign against the potential closure of the nursery

Outraged parents have now started a campaign to protect the Bradford Road premises which they feel will close if the funding is removed.

Signatures have been collected on a petition and signed letters will be submitted to Calderdale Council. People passing by were also showing their support by tying brightly coloured ribbons to the nursery fence.

The nursery has served the community for 70 years and a specialised building was opened on site in September 2008. The nursery caters for babies to seven-year-olds and also for children with special needs.

Parent Helen Fulcher said: “Parents have received a letter from the council but some are still unaware that if the funding is withdrawn it could result in the nursery closing. Withdrawing the subsidy is one of three options. The others are inviting a tender from other providers and leaving the nursery as it is.

“The community is in shock. They can’t believe what the council wants to do. The nursery has been on this site for 70 years. It is exactly the same apart from a change in name. If it closes parents are going to be faced with very difficult choices. They are going to have to weigh up if they can afford other means of child care,” said Helen

She said the nursery was 92 per cent full when the statistics were taken by the council. “The staff are brilliant. It is critical that people get involved in the consultation because the nursery is at the heart of our community. Thousands of children have come through the doors of the nursery and we need to keep it in our community. Children are going to suffer.”

Helen Bass said all her children had attended the nursery. “My youngest left in July but the support they gave me with my little girl who is autistic was fantastic. They really made a difference to her and the rest of my family. I’m devastated about this news. It is a big part of my life and I still want it to he here when my children grow up and I come to pick up my grandchildren. It is such a warm and brilliant place for children.”

Sarah Campbell agreed. “I really don’t feel there is a better place for my child to attend. Wellholme provides a very different service which is caring for children with special needs.

“The council claims that Wellholme does not meet their sufficiency and deprivation criteria and is unlikely to do so in the foreseeable future. But this should not be the only criteria and postcode based discrimination will leave children and families in the area with a detrimental gap in services,” she said.

“People should continue to send their children here. It is not closing at the moment. We are determined to save it.”

Jason Costello said the staff had been brilliant with his children and had helped with their development. “This nursery needs to be here for future generations, it is part of the community. You can’t take away services which people need especially at times like this. It will be interesting to see how it goes with the consultation and if the council is willing to listen.”

A 90-day consultation started yesterday to consider if the council will continue to subsidise day care provision in areas that aren’t of high deprivation. These also include Field Lane, Rastrick, New Road in Sowerby Bridge, Siddal, Elland and Todmorden.

A council spokeswoman said they had to target its resources to those who are in most need and a large proportion of any money saved will be used to support Calderdale’s most vulnerable young families.

All staff and users will have the opportunity to attend meetings which have been previously agreed.

If the consultation results in withdrawal of subsidy those affected will be given six months notice to allow them to plan and make arrangements.