Ten nurseries close leaving 450 families without childcare
PUBLISHED: 08:14 28 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:55 28 November 2019
Ten nurseries and day care centres across Norfolk and Suffolk have closed - with 136 people facing redundancy.
The Great Yarmouth Community Trust has entered liquidation, impacting up to 450 families.
The nurseries which have closed are Calthorpe Nursery, Peggotty Nursery, Priory Day Nursery and Willow Day Nursery - all of which are in Great Yarmouth.
The Seagulls Day Nursery in Gorleston has also shut its doors.
MORE: Next to go? Clarks announces 'rapid' exit from worst performing stores A further three nurseries which have closed are the Ladybird Day Care at Kirkley Children's Centre, the Little Ducks Day Nursery - both in Lowestoft - and the Little Blossoms Nursery in Filby.
In addition, the charitable trust runs the Horatio House school in Lowestoft and Nexus Engineering in Gorleston - both of which have closed.
The Little People's Montessori nursery in Norwich is a subsidiary of the Trust but will not be affected by the liquidation.
Both Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils are working to re-open the nurseries or provide alternative nursery provision as quickly as possible.
A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: "We are hopeful of offering new jobs to the vast majority of the front-line Norfolk nursery staff. It is our ambition to get nursery provision for children and parents back on track as soon as possible.
"We are also discussing with the Department for Education how best to minimise disruption to the education of the 19 Norfolk children at Horatio House independent school in Suffolk. We will be making tutors available to each child while new arrangements are made."
Although the county council does not run the Trust its role is to ensure there is sufficient childcare places provided in each Norfolk community.
Executive director of Children's Services at Norfolk County Council, Sara Tough, said: "We are sad that the Great Yarmouth Community Trust and its staff, who have supported many children and families over the years, have found themselves in this position.
"Norfolk County Council is taking urgent action to minimise the impact of the Trust's insolvency on children and families."
Lee Green, partner at MHA Larking Gowen, which is advising the trust and handling the liquidation, said: "Unfortunately the Great Yarmouth Community Trust has experienced serious financial difficulties and as from today the business will cease to trade. The liquidation process will begin in the next two weeks."
Andrew Forrest, executive director at the Great Yarmouth Community Trust, said: "In recent years we have been experiencing financial difficulties and it has now become clear that our business is no longer viable.
"We have been working with insolvency experts and Norfolk County Council to do all we can to minimise the impact for those who use or visit our services.
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"I am sorry for the disruption and uncertainty that the current position is causing for local families and for our valued staff."
Labour county councillor Mike Smith-Clare, said: "As a councillor for families living in the area affected by this shocking news - my thoughts go to those who have lost their jobs, their care and their education.
"It is disgraceful that I hear of this catastrophe through the media - and even more appalling that as Labour's county lead on children and young people I received no prior warning from either the leader of the council or representative from children's services.
"Families will be devastated by this news, particularly following the closure of children's centres. I want to know how long these difficulties have been known?
"Why we weren't told and what is being done to help those affected by yet another closure of a lifeline service?"
For more information, parents in Norfolk should contact Norfolk County Council on 01603 306300 to discuss possible future child care arrangements.
Parents in Suffolk should contact Suffolk County Council's Family Information Service on 03456 080033.