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Nursery owners fear they may not re-open after pandemic

PUBLISHED: 06:00 13 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:13 14 April 2020

Traquinas Childcare in Thetford have been supporting families during the coronavirus pandemic despite being forced to close. Photo: Carla Ferreira

Traquinas Childcare in Thetford have been supporting families during the coronavirus pandemic despite being forced to close. Photo: Carla Ferreira

Carla Ferreira

The owners of a town’s two nurseries fear they “might not have a business to go back to” as they say they will struggle to pay their bills after being forced to close amid the coronavirus crisis.

Paulo Meireles and Carla Ferreira run Traquinas nursery in Thetford and are aiming to save another nursery which is due to close. Picture: Conor MatchettPaulo Meireles and Carla Ferreira run Traquinas nursery in Thetford and are aiming to save another nursery which is due to close. Picture: Conor Matchett

Carla Ferreira and Paulo Meireles are the owners of Traquinas Childcare, on Old Croxton Road and Raymond Street, in Thetford, and have called for more support for nurseries during the pandemic.

Ms Ferreira says the only financial aid they have been offered is the 80pc furlough to pay their staff, but they are not eligible for any other government grants.

As well as this, their insurance company has said it will not cover them for loss of earnings while they are closed.

Ms Ferreira said: “We get what everyone gets which is the 80pc furlough for all of our staff, but we have two different insurance companies and both said they won’t pay us for loss of profits.

Traquinas Childcare in Thetford have been supporting families during the coronavirus pandemic despite being forced to close. Photo: Carla FerreiraTraquinas Childcare in Thetford have been supporting families during the coronavirus pandemic despite being forced to close. Photo: Carla Ferreira

“But we still have to pay rent, bills and everything else a month, they haven’t stopped.

“We also pay rent to Breckland Council for one our properties, which is a massive chunk, but they can’t help us either.

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“When we first closed, I couldn’t stop crying because I do not know if we are going to have a business to go back to after this.

“But our parents and staff have been so supportive we are very grateful for them and we are trying to say positive.”

Traquinas childcare are covered by dot2dot nursery insurance, who released a statement online to say they “can’t provide the answers” their customers “want to hear”.

In the statement the insurance company wrote: “I’m truly sorry that at a time of such immense challenge for you, we cannot provide the answers you want to hear. The outbreak of Covid-19, coronavirus is uncharted territory.

“dot2dot is backed by Aviva and our policy wording is one of the strongest and most flexible in the sector. However, it does not and will not cover you for closure due to Covid-19.”

But despite these uncertain times, Ms Ferreira and Mr Meireles, have been doing what they can to carry on supporting all 180 children from their nurseries and families across Thetford during lockdown, by sharing resources and posting online videos of activities for parents to follow.

Ms Ferreira added: “We just want to make sure everyone feels supported.

“We have two children and it’s quite hard to home school and make sure they have things to do on a daily basis. So, we thought we would do what we could to help.”


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