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'It's like a bereavement' - mum's pain as ten nurseries close

PUBLISHED: 11:41 28 November 2019 | UPDATED: 14:17 28 November 2019

The Priory Centre closed following the collapse of the Great Yarmouth Community Trust Picture: Liz Coates

The Priory Centre closed following the collapse of the Great Yarmouth Community Trust Picture: Liz Coates

Archant

A mother has described the shock closure of her son's school as "like a bereavement."

Horatio House in Lound is among a clutch of nurseries and day care centres that have shut without warning leaving hundreds of families in limbo and many workers jobless.

For Shana Laffitte the school's closure is likely to have a profound effect on her 14-year-old son Byron.

She said: "My son attended Horatio House due to not being able to regulate his emotions which caused his distress in mainstream schooling. "My son had a fantastic relationship with the staff at the school and had a support teacher with him since starting two years ago.

"The support teacher stayed with him throughout the two years which helped him develop a trusting relationship.

"The staff there went above and beyond their duty of care with my son .

"My son was devastated yesterday when he came from school that he never got the chance to say goodbye to such important people in his life.

"For him it is a bereavement at a time when he is at his most vulnerable emotionally."

Meanwhile staff have also shared their heartbreak.

At Ladybird Day Care at Kirkley Children's Centre Laura Smith said employees were told at around 5.30pm on Wednesday November 28, just as the children were being picked up.

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Many of the workers were in tears, but were told to put on a brave face for parents.

Miss Smith, 21, said: "We had worked the whole day and were told at around 5.30pm. We had just put all the Christmas decorations up.

"We were not allowed to tell the parents so we just had to say goodbye, as we normally would, saying we would see them tomorrow which we knew would not be the case.

"Because people were upset and crying we had to take turns going out and dealing with the parents."

She said staff, who were due to get paid today, were told they would not be getting any money.

Meanwhile parents, many of whom worked and relied on the nursery for childcare, had been thrown into panic some staff offering stop-gap childminding.

Ladybird Day Care had some 70 children on roll and around ten staff.

Chairman of the trustees John Holmes who helped to set up the Community Trust some 20 years ago said the closures were "devastating."

Mr Holmes said: "It's just tragic really. It was a whole series of things but losing the contracts for the childrens centres was a great blow.

"We have been talking to Norfolk County Council about some sort of package, they have given us support but there is nothing financial."

MORE: Ten nurseries close leaving 450 families without childcare

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