Lowestoft pre-school fears impact of cuts as it celebrates 10th anniversary

Little Buddies 10th anniversary. Pictures: Mick Howes

Little Buddies 10th anniversary. Pictures: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

The owner of a Lowestoft pre-school celebrating its 10th birthday says government funding cuts have left the business's future uncertain.

Little Buddies pre-school 10th Anniversay party with Waveney MP Peter Aldous. Pictures: Little Buddi

Little Buddies pre-school 10th Anniversay party with Waveney MP Peter Aldous. Pictures: Little Buddies pre-school - Credit: Archant

Kate Wright opened Little Buddies Pre-School in 2007 with a group of five children.

Now with more than two dozen youngsters meeting at St Luke's Church Centre in Homefield Avenue, Mrs Wright says the funding situation is 'really worrying.'

'The government has introduced this 30 hours of free childcare to get people into work but a lot of pre-school settings are saying they are going to have to cut staff to make it work,' she said.

The amount Little Buddies Pre-School receives per hour per child from the government has gone down, as has a grant given to early years education providers in deprived areas of the country.

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Mrs Wright also used to receive government help towards her rent, but said this has been stopped completely and says running the business does not give her the National Living Wage.

'It's very difficult,' she said. 'This is the worst it has been in terms of funding in the 10 years I've run the business.

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'It could quite easily kill the business unless something drastic happens and I have to keep my fees low because we're in an area of high depravation.'

Mrs Wright invited Waveney MP Peter Aldous to the pre-school's recent 10th birthday party to discuss the issue.

The event was a chance for the pre-school's children past and present to enjoy a bouncy castle, games and refreshments.

And for Mrs Wright, it was an opportunity to voice her concerns to her local MP.

'He said he'd go away and read up on the issue and speak to some colleagues to find out how they have worked out the new funding,' she said.

'But the party was brilliant and it was lovely to see some of the children who came to us right at the start.'

Will your business or children be affected by the cuts to early years education funding? Write to Letters, The Journal, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft, NR33 1NB or email lowestoft.journal@archant.co.uk.

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