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Parents protest over nursery closures
PARENTS are campaigning to save two nurseries and an out-of-school club which provide care for more than 250 children from closure.
Dorset County Council can no longer afford to run Blandford Nursery, Shaftesbury Nursery and Oscars Out of School Club in Blandford and decided to close them on 31 March 2014.
Petitions to save both children’s centres have attracted hundreds of signatures and parents are planning demonstrations at Dorset County Council to protest against the “nightmare” situation.
Hazel Wilby, who set up the Save Blandford Children’s Centre Facebook group, said: “There was absolutely no consultation period before they announced the closure on Thursday October 17.
“It’s completely ridiculous and will create a nightmare situation because there are no other options for childcare in the town.”
A meeting on Monday night at the Crown Hotel in Blandford will see parents meet to discuss further action to prevent the closures. Caroline Wawman, 33, who has two children who used Blandford Children’s Centre, said: “It is absolutely devastating, I feel guilty enough putting them into childcare, but to uproot them and place them into new childcare outside the town will just be too much.” Victoria Doodars, who works on Outreach programmes at Shaftesbury Sure Start, said: “This really frightens me as hundreds of families will just have nowhere to put their kids when they go off to work.”
Despite efforts to save these services, they are not longer financially viable and are likely to have lost around £134,000 by April 2014, according to Dorset County Council. Cabinet member for children's safeguarding and families, Cllr Rebecca Knox, said: “We have made every effort to keep the two nurseries and out-of-school club open but, sadly, matters have not improved.
“The decision to close was taken reluctantly and officers are working hard to find alternatives for parents and children.”
Info box: The council is holding the following drop-in sessions for parents to discuss their individual needs with officers: Tuesday October 22 from 6pm to 8pm and Monday October 28 from 9am to 12pm at Blandford Children’s Centre Wednesday October 23 from 6pm-8pm and Tuesday October 29 from 9am to 12pm at Shaftesbury Children’s Centre.
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