Nursery to close after 25 years

Clare Farmer, left, with her children, Jack and Harry and Lauren Hucknall with Rowan and Arlo outside the Sunshine Nursery which has unexpectedly announced it's closure.
Clare Farmer, left, with her children, Jack and Harry and Lauren Hucknall with Rowan and Arlo outside the Sunshine Nursery which has unexpectedly announced it's closure.
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Angry mums have been left holding the baby after NHS bosses revealed they are closing a popular nursery after 25 years – despite inducting children as recently as last week.

Parents dropping children at Sunshine Nursery, on the Walton Hospital site, were left shocked after an NHS official informed them of the closure on Tuesday.

They were told the nursery had been running at a loss for years and there was nothing parents could do to stop the closure.

For mum-of-two Lauren Hucknall, 31, of Ashover, the news could not have come at a worse time.

Following a successful induction for her six-month-old son, Arlo, at the nursery last week, she called her employers to arrange coming back from maternity. She is due to start again on Friday.

Lauren, a teacher at Tupton Hall, said: “The nursery didn’t even tell me about the closure – I found out from a friend. I just can’t believe nobody made me aware at the time of the induction, or else I wouldn’t have arranged to go back to work so soon.

“This has created a real problem for me now. And it’s such a shame because the nursery and the staff are amazing.”

Lauren said her daughter Rowan, aged three, is currently at the nursery and loves it.

Mum-of-two Clare Farmer, 32, was at the nursery when the announcement came.

Clare, of Fairfield Road, Chesterfield, said: “It was very upsetting. An NHS official, who we hadn’t seen before, handed out a letter and told us the nursery was unprofitable, it would close, and there is nothing we can do about it.

“I just wish the NHS had been more open about the fact it was unprofitable. Perhaps the parents could have raised funds to keep it open. It seems very unfair that there’s nothing we can do about it now either.”

She added: “It’s a great nursery, the staff are brilliant. It’s such a shame. The staff were all in tears at the time.”

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust claim the nursery made a loss of almost £150,000 last year.

William Jones, director of operations at the trust, said: “The nursery has been operating at a significant financial loss for some time, which cannot be sustained in the current economic climate. For these reasons we decided to review the function of the nursery alongside our organisation’s main objectives and we have taken the very difficult decision to close Sunshine Nursery at the end of July 2015.

“I understand this will be disappointing news for parents, as it is for us, and we will do all we can to support you to find alternative arrangements for your child as soon as possible.”