Emotions are running high after a ‘crucial’ Staveley crèche announced shock plans to close its doors just days before Christmas, leaving parents and children heartbroken.
The Treasure Island crèche, based at Staveley Healthy Living Centre, will ‘close for good’ on December 21 due to lack of funding, it was revealed in a letter to parents this week.
Touchstone, the charity who run the crèche along with Treasure Island nursery on the high street, have stressed the nursery will remain open but they no longer have the funds available to sustain the crèche.
Nursery manager Cathy Walker said staff have been left ‘devastated’ and scrambling to find a way to help the crèche survive.
She added: “We are currently looking at funding bids, but the money won’t be available straight away.
“We would love to give children and parents a Christmas miracle to stay open, if only someone could come forward with some money.
“The parents are being amazing and we all really appreciate their support and passion for our Treasure Island nursery and crèche as well as our lovely, dedicated staff.”
Well-attended baby and toddler groups ran by the same charity at the centre are also facing the axe.
The letter to parents explains: “Initially we were paid a fee to deliver it by Chesterfield Borough Council, however due to Government cuts to their budgets they told us this contract had to end in March 2016. We know how much the crèche is valued, so we have continued to deliver it since then at our own risk, charging customers directly.
“Although we have been steadily building up both crèche and childcare number since 2016, unfortunately we have never been able to cover our costs, and have been operating the service at a significant loss.”
Parent Naomi Bingham said the decision was ‘heartwrenching’.
She added: “My daughter has been at the crèche since she was just six-months-old and it has been amazing for her development. “She has truly come out of her shell in that time. She had structure and routine.
“She trusted the staff and when I left her at the centre she never looked back and had a fabulous time.
“This has rocked our world.”
It is understood that children receiving funded sessions at the crèche will be transferred to the nursery, however one parent said she would be forced to leave her child with a relative as she had not been offered the same dates and times.
“I have my mother-in-law,” she said. “Not everyone else is so lucky.”