Future of nursery thrown into doubt after staff asked to move out of premises

Bournemouth Echo: FEARS: Staff, parents and children at the Blue Dragon Club in Poole FEARS: Staff, parents and children at the Blue Dragon Club in Poole

THE FUTURE of a Poole nursery is in jeopardy after Borough of Poole asked staff to move out with no alternative offered.

Blue Dragon Club, which provides pre-school, nursery, after-school and holiday club care, based in Old Town Children’s Centre, on Green Road, has been told that its lease will not be renewed in October.

Now staff and parents are looking for an alternative site to re-locate to or the Blue Dragon Club will close after 14 years.

Hayley House from the club said: “We have found the perfect new site where we can continue our work, which is close to Old Town Infant School, so that we can still provide the wrap-around care that the parents really need. Unfortunately, the lease is far more than we can afford.

“We are looking for someone to finance, re-locate and expand our current setting.”

Toni Desmier, mum of Carter, three, and Noah, six, said: “This is like home for the children, they love to be here, and the staff feel like family. These staff are the people I have trusted since my children were two. I don’t want to send them elsewhere.”

Claire Pantling, mum to Lorcan, three, and Scarlett, two, said: “It means an awful lot for my kids to be able to come here. My son has always been happy here and the staff have been fantastic working with his speech and language difficulties. I’m really upset that it’s having to close.”

Vicky Wales, head of children, young people and learning at Borough of Poole, said: “The local authority had informed the club at a very early stage that they would need to vacate the premises as the lease would not be renewed.

“The future use of the premises is currently under review in line with local childcare sufficiency and Children’s Centre service delivery needs in the area.”

She said that for help on finding alternative childcare, parents can call the Family Information Service on 01202 261999.

Comments (17)

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1:21pm Wed 11 Jun 14

Lv1234 says...

There are no suitable alternatives in the nearby area. Another decision by the borough to force out a well run and used nursery. It's about time they listened to parents not just made stupid decisions
There are no suitable alternatives in the nearby area. Another decision by the borough to force out a well run and used nursery. It's about time they listened to parents not just made stupid decisions Lv1234
  • Score: 11

1:42pm Wed 11 Jun 14

benny17 says...

It is a shame for this nursery / after school club is having to close. my son attends & he really enjoys it. we where planning for my daughter to attend in September, as the boy moves up to pre-school. the next nearest nursery is at the stadium, which is a decent walk for little legs.
the most frustrating part is the council have not given any indications of to what the premises will be used for. since there is a shortage of childcare places in the area to close one is madness. i would not be surprised to see the building empty for the foreseeable future, which leave a bitter taste!
It is a shame for this nursery / after school club is having to close. my son attends & he really enjoys it. we where planning for my daughter to attend in September, as the boy moves up to pre-school. the next nearest nursery is at the stadium, which is a decent walk for little legs. the most frustrating part is the council have not given any indications of to what the premises will be used for. since there is a shortage of childcare places in the area to close one is madness. i would not be surprised to see the building empty for the foreseeable future, which leave a bitter taste! benny17
  • Score: 9

4:29pm Wed 11 Jun 14

hshabs says...

Well done Borough of Poole, yet again, another crazy decision. My son has been at Blue Dragon for 2 1/2 years, he is going to be devastated if Blue Dragon cannot get help with the funding they need to move to new premises. And no-where close by is going to be able to match the care and warmth that the staff give the children... absolutely gutted if this has to close :(
Well done Borough of Poole, yet again, another crazy decision. My son has been at Blue Dragon for 2 1/2 years, he is going to be devastated if Blue Dragon cannot get help with the funding they need to move to new premises. And no-where close by is going to be able to match the care and warmth that the staff give the children... absolutely gutted if this has to close :( hshabs
  • Score: 5

5:27pm Wed 11 Jun 14

abam13 says...

Both my kids are going to Blue Dragon. I've never had those horror stories I hear from other parents about kids crying for hours after being dropped off. The girls working their are amazing, they do anything for the kids. The flexibility helped me go back to work. If they close I would be first knocking at Borough's door for benefits as will not be able to work anymore!!!! I just cannot imagine Blue Dragon not being there.
Both my kids are going to Blue Dragon. I've never had those horror stories I hear from other parents about kids crying for hours after being dropped off. The girls working their are amazing, they do anything for the kids. The flexibility helped me go back to work. If they close I would be first knocking at Borough's door for benefits as will not be able to work anymore!!!! I just cannot imagine Blue Dragon not being there. abam13
  • Score: 4

5:40pm Wed 11 Jun 14

losthope says...

Can anyone translate Vicky Wales comment into English for me?
"The future use of the premises is currently under review in line with local childcare sufficiency and Children’s Centre service delivery needs in the area.”

Does she not understand that by effectively closing a childcare centre there will be less childcare? And that it is already hard enough to find and that kids benefit from continuity and love and aren't just interchangeable units to be swapped round at the Council's convenience?
Can anyone translate Vicky Wales comment into English for me? "The future use of the premises is currently under review in line with local childcare sufficiency and Children’s Centre service delivery needs in the area.” Does she not understand that by effectively closing a childcare centre there will be less childcare? And that it is already hard enough to find and that kids benefit from continuity and love and aren't just interchangeable units to be swapped round at the Council's convenience? losthope
  • Score: 6

5:46pm Wed 11 Jun 14

Lv1234 says...

I phoned to borough to enquire after the "alternative childcare" they say is available. Nothing is available for the hours blue dragon offer or for the same price. The alternative they are pushing people towards costs £15 a day more AND shuts early two days a week. I was told that just because that doesn't work around my hours then doesn't mean it is the same for all parents... Obviously we use blue dragon until 6 not 5! They didn't care at the huge increase in price. Maybe parents should have been consulted not just a blind decision made by someone who has no concern for working parents.
I phoned to borough to enquire after the "alternative childcare" they say is available. Nothing is available for the hours blue dragon offer or for the same price. The alternative they are pushing people towards costs £15 a day more AND shuts early two days a week. I was told that just because that doesn't work around my hours then doesn't mean it is the same for all parents... Obviously we use blue dragon until 6 not 5! They didn't care at the huge increase in price. Maybe parents should have been consulted not just a blind decision made by someone who has no concern for working parents. Lv1234
  • Score: 8

11:37pm Wed 11 Jun 14

Mumzy23 says...

What a ridiculous statement by the council! Ok, so Blue Dragon have known for a few months that the tender would not be renewed, which is why they are looking for alternative premises, but they were told this at very short notice when they expected the tender to be renewed and with no feasible explanation as to why it would be closed; even now months later they can't get a straight answer why.
Even as a parent if you ask they will not give you a direct answer why Blue Dragon can't continue there and they just advise you to speak to the Family Information Service for alternative care, but there isn't any.
They mention childminders but if parents wanted their children to go to that type of setting, they would have done so in the first place. Also do childminders do wrap around care for school age children? They didn't the last time I checked.

Other nurseries in Poole are considerably more expensive even with funding as they are profit making businesses not charities, or not as easily accessible for people that don't drive. As a parent of three young children I would not be happy at them walking all the way from the stadium along a busy road and through town with all their paraphernalia with me, let alone someone else who is looking after other children too. That longer journey would also mean earlier starts and coming home later, so as well as grumpy, tired ( & wet kids in the winter) toddlers - not fun I can assure you - they would have less time at home to do homework etc putting a strain on family life.
Also, the alternatives given by the FIS don't really help parents of middle/junior school age which Blue Dragon cater for with their wrap around care. They can't offer regular drop offs/ pick ups from the school buses and Cuddles closes at 5pm two days a week as it is as Poole Stadium! Who can find work hours to fit around that?
Perhaps you could take your kids to their other nursery at Canford Heath, but that's even worse to get to if you don't drive and there would be no consistency of care.

The main reason Blue Dragon has lost attendants is because they don't have preschool funding, and they don't have the funding as the tender could not be renewed. There is a demand for Blue Dragon because it offers services others can't and despite all the odds stacked against it, it is still going and more children are joining.
So the council has made this charity who been offering a unique and personal type of care for six years in this property leave with no reason why when Children's Centres are hardly used in comparison.

Ultimately this space should be used parents in the local community who need it and use it, and if this happens it won't be the case.

What a disgrace. Poole borough council should be utterly ashamed of their behaviour.
What a ridiculous statement by the council! Ok, so Blue Dragon have known for a few months that the tender would not be renewed, which is why they are looking for alternative premises, but they were told this at very short notice when they expected the tender to be renewed and with no feasible explanation as to why it would be closed; even now months later they can't get a straight answer why. Even as a parent if you ask they will not give you a direct answer why Blue Dragon can't continue there and they just advise you to speak to the Family Information Service for alternative care, but there isn't any. They mention childminders but if parents wanted their children to go to that type of setting, they would have done so in the first place. Also do childminders do wrap around care for school age children? They didn't the last time I checked. Other nurseries in Poole are considerably more expensive even with funding as they are profit making businesses not charities, or not as easily accessible for people that don't drive. As a parent of three young children I would not be happy at them walking all the way from the stadium along a busy road and through town with all their paraphernalia with me, let alone someone else who is looking after other children too. That longer journey would also mean earlier starts and coming home later, so as well as grumpy, tired ( & wet kids in the winter) toddlers - not fun I can assure you - they would have less time at home to do homework etc putting a strain on family life. Also, the alternatives given by the FIS don't really help parents of middle/junior school age which Blue Dragon cater for with their wrap around care. They can't offer regular drop offs/ pick ups from the school buses and Cuddles closes at 5pm two days a week as it is as Poole Stadium! Who can find work hours to fit around that? Perhaps you could take your kids to their other nursery at Canford Heath, but that's even worse to get to if you don't drive and there would be no consistency of care. The main reason Blue Dragon has lost attendants is because they don't have preschool funding, and they don't have the funding as the tender could not be renewed. There is a demand for Blue Dragon because it offers services others can't and despite all the odds stacked against it, it is still going and more children are joining. So the council has made this charity who been offering a unique and personal type of care for six years in this property leave with no reason why when Children's Centres are hardly used in comparison. Ultimately this space should be used parents in the local community who need it and use it, and if this happens it won't be the case. What a disgrace. Poole borough council should be utterly ashamed of their behaviour. Mumzy23
  • Score: 2

11:41pm Wed 11 Jun 14

abam13 says...

I've emailed them some time ago and was offered 2 childminders. If I was looking for a childminder I would've asked for one.
I've emailed them some time ago and was offered 2 childminders. If I was looking for a childminder I would've asked for one. abam13
  • Score: 2

11:46pm Wed 11 Jun 14

abam13 says...

I've seen the leaflet from Cuddles and it says they will drive the kids to and from school. I'm not sure I want them to be driven by someone I don't know and have no idea how they driving. I don't let some of my friends take my kids in the car let alone a stranger!!!
I've seen the leaflet from Cuddles and it says they will drive the kids to and from school. I'm not sure I want them to be driven by someone I don't know and have no idea how they driving. I don't let some of my friends take my kids in the car let alone a stranger!!! abam13
  • Score: 2

7:19am Thu 12 Jun 14

Lv1234 says...

These are all the points I made to a Jane Osborne when she returned my call, her lack of concern and understanding how parents feel made me wonder if she is really the kind of person you would want employed by the borough concerning children. Lets face it there are no viable alternatives for working parents and yet again it is a decision that needs to be reversed with a huge apology from whoever made it!
These are all the points I made to a Jane Osborne when she returned my call, her lack of concern and understanding how parents feel made me wonder if she is really the kind of person you would want employed by the borough concerning children. Lets face it there are no viable alternatives for working parents and yet again it is a decision that needs to be reversed with a huge apology from whoever made it! Lv1234
  • Score: 4

3:47pm Thu 12 Jun 14

kangaroo_joey says...

Blue Dragon is in a low income area of the town, and from the comments above the council have suggested other pre schools that can accomadate the extra children, now how is it the councils fault people cannot afford to send their children to these places, you get what you pay for. If the pre school doesnt get funding you cant expect the council to cover the costs. Running a businesses for a profit is just common sense, and if you think £15 a day is expensive then you need to open your eyes, most decent pre schools/nurserys charge upwards of £30/40 a day
Blue Dragon is in a low income area of the town, and from the comments above the council have suggested other pre schools that can accomadate the extra children, now how is it the councils fault people cannot afford to send their children to these places, you get what you pay for. If the pre school doesnt get funding you cant expect the council to cover the costs. Running a businesses for a profit is just common sense, and if you think £15 a day is expensive then you need to open your eyes, most decent pre schools/nurserys charge upwards of £30/40 a day kangaroo_joey
  • Score: -5

6:34pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Lv1234 says...

It's £15 a day more! Not £15 a day. See the comments there are no alternatives available. Blue dragon is a charity hence not run to make a profit. The children's centre is not used as it is. This is a quality setting that should be kept for parents who want it.
It's £15 a day more! Not £15 a day. See the comments there are no alternatives available. Blue dragon is a charity hence not run to make a profit. The children's centre is not used as it is. This is a quality setting that should be kept for parents who want it. Lv1234
  • Score: 1

6:36pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Mumzy23 says...

kangaroo_joey wrote:
Blue Dragon is in a low income area of the town, and from the comments above the council have suggested other pre schools that can accomadate the extra children, now how is it the councils fault people cannot afford to send their children to these places, you get what you pay for. If the pre school doesnt get funding you cant expect the council to cover the costs. Running a businesses for a profit is just common sense, and if you think £15 a day is expensive then you need to open your eyes, most decent pre schools/nurserys charge upwards of £30/40 a day
Kangaroo_Joey. Actually you don't get what you pay for in this case. Many parents have been forced to take their kids from Blue Dragon to other nurseries due to the lack of funding, and the care is not better, in fact it is worse because it is not so personal and friendly but done so the nurseries meet all of Ofsted's regulations and therefore more attention is put into that than looking after children because ultimately they're more interested in making a profit. The parents also say their children were happier and more settled in Blue Dragon than the nursery they moved to. We aren't saying it is the borough's fault we can't afford more expensive care, but the option should be there for parents to choose, not some false illusion of choice that will force a lot of parents out of work as the childcare won't fit around their personal arrangements or is not financially viable to be at work even with tax credits etc. And FYI it is £15 EXTRA not £15 a day. What would you rather have?
[quote][p][bold]kangaroo_joey[/bold] wrote: Blue Dragon is in a low income area of the town, and from the comments above the council have suggested other pre schools that can accomadate the extra children, now how is it the councils fault people cannot afford to send their children to these places, you get what you pay for. If the pre school doesnt get funding you cant expect the council to cover the costs. Running a businesses for a profit is just common sense, and if you think £15 a day is expensive then you need to open your eyes, most decent pre schools/nurserys charge upwards of £30/40 a day[/p][/quote]Kangaroo_Joey. Actually you don't get what you pay for in this case. Many parents have been forced to take their kids from Blue Dragon to other nurseries due to the lack of funding, and the care is not better, in fact it is worse because it is not so personal and friendly but done so the nurseries meet all of Ofsted's regulations and therefore more attention is put into that than looking after children because ultimately they're more interested in making a profit. The parents also say their children were happier and more settled in Blue Dragon than the nursery they moved to. We aren't saying it is the borough's fault we can't afford more expensive care, but the option should be there for parents to choose, not some false illusion of choice that will force a lot of parents out of work as the childcare won't fit around their personal arrangements or is not financially viable to be at work even with tax credits etc. And FYI it is £15 EXTRA not £15 a day. What would you rather have? Mumzy23
  • Score: 3

6:41pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Mumzy23 says...

The issues are not only price or convenience of location for children aged 3-10 or level of care, but older kids won't be catered for for wrap around care.
What do you suggest we do with children that are at middle/junior school? Leave them at home alone for three hours in the afternoon until you get home from work?
The issues are not only price or convenience of location for children aged 3-10 or level of care, but older kids won't be catered for for wrap around care. What do you suggest we do with children that are at middle/junior school? Leave them at home alone for three hours in the afternoon until you get home from work? Mumzy23
  • Score: 1

8:18pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Sleeves says...

"You get what you pay for" in this case you most definitely do not. Blue dragon may not be expensive but the staff and children are always happy doesn't that say something? You could send your child to a £50 a day nursery but the staff and the setting could be horrific. I've attended many nurseries but not 1 has been like blue dragon. Blue dragon has never been about making money but in fact about catering and caring for each child's needs and always putting each individual child first. I know parents who have had to leave blue dragon to go else where to get funding, but their children would still attend blue dragon in the holidays and they have said "it's an emotional battle getting the children to go to nursery even after weeks of settling but in the holidays at blue dragon they just walk in and don't want to come home at home time" I think that says it all. If the borough insist on blue dragon leaving the premises then it's their loss, and the new investors gain.
"You get what you pay for" in this case you most definitely do not. Blue dragon may not be expensive but the staff and children are always happy doesn't that say something? You could send your child to a £50 a day nursery but the staff and the setting could be horrific. I've attended many nurseries but not 1 has been like blue dragon. Blue dragon has never been about making money but in fact about catering and caring for each child's needs and always putting each individual child first. I know parents who have had to leave blue dragon to go else where to get funding, but their children would still attend blue dragon in the holidays and they have said "it's an emotional battle getting the children to go to nursery even after weeks of settling but in the holidays at blue dragon they just walk in and don't want to come home at home time" I think that says it all. If the borough insist on blue dragon leaving the premises then it's their loss, and the new investors gain. Sleeves
  • Score: 3

1:15am Sun 15 Jun 14

Mirr-or says...

Is it just me or does it seem bizarre that children centres are closing all over the country and the borough of Poole believe that closing a nursery that provides affordable, good quality childcare would in some way benefit the community!
Despite the immenent closure of Blue Dragon, I as well as others are continuing to send our children to a place where we know that they will be cared for by a warm, attentive friendly team. I hope they find the funds that they need to re locate and I will continue to send my child to a place where they are happy and content.
Is it just me or does it seem bizarre that children centres are closing all over the country and the borough of Poole believe that closing a nursery that provides affordable, good quality childcare would in some way benefit the community! Despite the immenent closure of Blue Dragon, I as well as others are continuing to send our children to a place where we know that they will be cared for by a warm, attentive friendly team. I hope they find the funds that they need to re locate and I will continue to send my child to a place where they are happy and content. Mirr-or
  • Score: 1

10:31pm Mon 23 Jun 14

Mumzy23 says...

They even have a petition going.
http://www.change.or
g/en-GB/organisation
s/the_blue_dragon_cl
ub
They even have a petition going. http://www.change.or g/en-GB/organisation s/the_blue_dragon_cl ub Mumzy23
  • Score: 0

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