ANGRY parents and staff at a popular pre-school have been left gutted after spiralling rent forced it to close at just two day’s notice.
Holy Family Pre-School was forced to tell devastated parents yesterday that their little ones wouldn’t be able to return in September.
The Freckleton group, which has been running for 25 years, has been forced to close after Holy Family Church announced a 50 per cent hike in the rent for the small church hall it uses.
Staff member Dawn Rothwell, who has worked there for 14 years, said: “We used to pay £25 a week rent and last year it went up to £60, but me and my deputy found out on Friday they wanted to put it up to £90.
“We’re only here 15 hours a week and we’re not a profit-making business so it’s forced closure on us.
“We’re not a drain on the parish. We have church services, the children do a nativity, harvest festival and a mother’s day service so we are promoting church.”
The pre-school, which cares for around 26 children between 9am and noon each day, only earns enough for staffing and equipment costs as it stands and the church has refused to speak to them about the issue.
As a result staff were forced to make the heart-breaking decision to close when this term ends tomorrow.
Susan Thackeray, from Warton, is now facing a headache about pre-school provision for three-year-old Michael when she returns to college in September.
She said: “There aren’t a lot of playgroups in Warton and Freckleton and getting him in another is going to be impossible.
“And I don’t really want to look for another because my little boy loves it there.”
Three-year-old Naomi Kennedy is also due to continue in September and mum Denise Edmondson, of Queensway, Warton, said: “Lots of parents are very upset and I think Naomi will be very upset.
“I don’t know what we will do because getting in somewhere now at a week’s notice will be hard. I’m absolutely gutted.”
And fellow parent Maxine Glover, of Butlers Meadow, Warton, added: “I’m gutted.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do now, my daughter Brooke loves it there.”
Officials at the church were unavailable for comment.