Lynn nursery will stay open after campaign

Gary McGuinness' son Jude, three, goes to the nursery. He was with his father outside the college ca

Gary McGuinness' son Jude, three, goes to the nursery. He was with his father outside the college campaigning for it to remain open last month: Picture submitted - Credit: Archant

Campaigners are celebrating after it was announced that a popular children's nursery would remain open, after being threatened with closure.

Calls were made last month for extra funding to be made available to ensure Applewood nursery at the College of West Anglia site in King's Lynn did not close.

In a consultation on its possible closure in July, college principal David Pomfret said that the nursery had never managed to cover its costs and was heavily subsidised by the college.

But Labour candidates for the West Norfolk Council elections later this week campaigned to save it, and the CWA has now announced the withdrawal of the proposal to close the college's on-site nursery.

Candidate Gary McGuinness, whose son Jude, three, goes to the nursery, said: 'It's great news for the children. It shows that if people get behind a campaign it makes a difference and can work.

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'I think the petition we got together and all the people who contacted the principal – it all helped.

'It is people who live locally who use this nursery while they are at work or study.'

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Campaigners to keep the nursery open were also fearful of the possible loss of 15 jobs, and parents of affected children staged a demonstration outside the front of the college last month.

Mr Pomfret said: 'We have secured sustainability funding from Norfolk County Council Early Years and Childcare team to enable the nursery to continue to operate and will also be working with this team to develop a sustainable business model to ensure the nursery is viable on a long-term basis.

'As I said during my recent meetings with parents, I really value our nursery and recognise its position as one of the best childcare providers in the area; the proposal to close was reluctantly made and based purely on financial viability.

'I also understand how valuable the service is to parents and, during the consultation period, I was able to hear and read first hand just how passionately parents feel about the important role the nursery plays in the lives of our students, staff and the community, who are using it in increasing numbers.

'I am confident that, with this support from NCC and the ongoing commitment of our staff, we will be able to make the changes necessary to ensure the long-term future of this valuable service.'

Richard Bearman, vice-chairman of the children's services committee at Norfolk County Council, said Applewood nursery was a vital resource for the community.

He added: 'We want to ensure that there are sufficient childcare places across the county so that children can benefit from good quality early education and parents can have the opportunity to both work and learn.

'We will now be working closely with the CWA to support the nursery to develop a sustainable business model, so that it can continue to support families in King's Lynn in the future.

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