LAST week’s Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee heard that there was overwhelming community support to keep Little Pirates and Neptune Nurseries in Tilbury St Chad’s open.
The nurseries, which are under threat of closure as the ruling Conservative administration struggle to close a £34.4 million budget gap, and would see a loss of over 30 staff and 126 nursery places if they close.
A briefing note received by the Committee on a consultation about the closure of the nurseries, detailed that there was overwhelming community support to keep them open with 96% of respondents saying it was important or very important that they can access nursery provision locally.
Comments about the nurseries were all positive, with one respondent commenting that:
“They are fantastic nurseries and my son thrived being there and other family members also have attended as well as friends, also the staff are amazing with the children, especially with additional needs as I experienced.”
Chair of Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny, Cllr Sara Muldowney said: “When the news of these cuts were first brought to Committee in September, myself and my fellow Labour Councillor, Cllr Lee Watson were adamant that we would not vote for them.”
“In October, we raised further concerns when a report about childcare places in the borough showed that over a third of the borough wouldn’t have enough places to match demand next year, including Tilbury St Chads where these two nurseries are in danger of closing.
“The proposal was brought to find another provider to run the nurseries, but with a deadline of March 2022 for closure, it seemed unlikely that this could be achieved.”
“I am glad to hear that due to the objections of Thurrock Labour councillors on the Committee and the overwhelming support from the community to keep these nurseries open, the deadline has now been extended until the summer.”
“I sincerely hope that new providers can be found who can continue to deliver the same value for money, excellent childcare that Little Pirates and Neptune nursery have provided for generations of local families in Tilbury and the surrounding area.”