Eaton nursery closes with less than 24 hours notice - leaving parents out of pocket

Fresh Steps Day Nursery in Eaton, which has closed. Picture: Lauren Cope

Fresh Steps Day Nursery in Eaton, which has closed. Picture: Lauren Cope - Credit: Archant

A nursery on the edge of Norwich has closed with less than 24 hours notice - leaving parents out of pocket and scrabbling to find new care.

Fresh Steps Day Nursery in Eaton, which has closed. Picture: Lauren Cope

Fresh Steps Day Nursery in Eaton, which has closed. Picture: Lauren Cope - Credit: Archant

Fresh Steps Day Nursery, on Bluebell Road in Eaton, emailed parents on Sunday to say an 'extended period of loss of earnings and financial deprivation' had forced it to close - from Monday.

Parents are now on the hunt for new care, with some out of pocket for fees paid in advance.

Kerry McConnell said she will lose the £660 she paid for August, money which the nursery - which was rated good by Ofsted last December - said in an email had 'been absorbed into company debts'.

She said: 'It's an absolute nightmare for us - we can't afford to pay out again for this month so we're having to beg, borrow and steal from family members. Even just finding space for child care is really difficult - places fill quickly.'


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The email, written by 'the team at Fresh Steps', said business had suffered after Ofsted temporarily suspended its registration last summer over management concerns.

'Increasing competition' and 'clients/interest in the nursery returning at a slower rate than predicted' had prompted the 'heart breaking' decision to close, it said, despite open days, discounts and marketing campaigns organised to drive business up.

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It said: 'We have agonised over this decision and this is not the outcome we expected for the nursery, especially since the team, provision, and the environment are all stronger than they ever have been.'

But it also pointed the finger at former clients, who it said 'persisted to slander the nursery' since last summer, which had 'hindered the rejuvenation of the company'.

The team apologised to parents and said the government's free 30 hours childcare for three and four-year-olds had worsened its situation. Buyers had been lined up to take over the business, the email said, but both sales fell through.

It added: 'I know that you will be upset and possibly angry at the sudden closure of this nursery. We do sincerely and obviously wish it could be in any shape or form, different and a possibility that we could continue.'

Fresh Steps did not respond to our request for a response by the time of publication.

• Have you been affected? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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