Blackpool nursery 'devastated' to be closing

Busy Bees
Busy Bees
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The shock closure of a Blackpool nursery after almost 30 years has left staff ‘devastated’.

Busy Bees, based at the Salvation Army on Raikes Parade, will shut its doors for the last time on January 31.

Falling numbers and changes in the way government grants fund nursery places have been blamed.

But the decision has left nine members of staff out of work and parents having to find new nurseries for 25 children.

Manager Julie Thomson, who has worked at Busy Bees for 22 years, said: “We are distraught and we have only been given two weeks notice.

“Busy Bees has always put children first and at the moment we are finding it hard.

“This would have been our 30th year and we serve a deprived area of Blackpool, and now we are shutting down.”

Parents said their children now faced the disruption of changing nurseries.

Chelsea Singleton said: “My little boy Charlie, who is two, only started here a couple of weeks ago and he absolutely loves it.

“It took a lot for him to come here so I’m worried about settling him into another nursery.

“This is also the closest one to where we live and other nurseries either don’t have places or are too far away.”

Daria Kolodziejczak, whose daughter Vanessa, two, attends Busy Bees, said: “It’s really difficult to find places for two-year-olds, so I’m worried and this is also a really good nursery. My daughter knows everyone here but now I have to move her.”

Michael Lindop’s elder daughter Olivia attended Busy Bees and now his son Ryan, four, goes there.

He is also a former chairman of the Busy Bees committee. He said: “The staff here are amazing so I’m devastated it is closing.

“Ryan has had a barrier with his language but they have done an amazing job with him here, getting him referred to the right places and now his speech is fluent.

“It’s the end of an era now it’s closing. I hope the staff find jobs somewhere else, and I’d like to thank them for everything they’ve done.”

Sue Lambert, who has worked at Busy Bees for 18 years, said: “It’s so sad to see the whole thing go because it’s been a pleasure working here with all the staff and the children.”

Sylvia Davy, who has worked there for more than 17 years, added: “I’m heartbroken and it has come as such a shock.

“I’m 62 and I need to work until I’m 66 so I’ll have to look for another part-time job.”

Busy Bees originally operated from All Saints Church Hall on Park Road, before moving to its present premises in 1999.

It is a registered charity and has capacity for 40 children in total.

Busy Bees trustee Carol Webb said it had been a difficult decision to close the nursery.

She said: “A lack of government grant funding has put us in a position that means we can no longer continue.

“The policy of funding 30 hours has put our model of term time care under threat because we can offer only 27 hours.

“We have also struggled because we have not been getting enough children in.”

All three and four-year-olds are eligible for 15 hours of free care and parents who both work and earn less than £100,000 are entitled to 30 hours of childcare during term time.

However the government has come in for criticism for underfunding the scheme, which has led to some nurseries closing.

Busy Bees operates between 9am and 3pm during term-time, but many working parents require longer hours.