Nursery hit by closure threat

A VITAL village nursery is just weeks away from closing unless it raises thousands of pounds.

At a meeting on Monday evening, the management of Noah’s Ark Nursery in Lynemouth told parents that a decision had been taken to stay open until the end of September as community efforts begin to try and save the facility.

The service, which provides day care and after-school care for 65 children and employs 11 members of staff, needs to restructure in order to continue to receive financial support from Northumberland County Council and other funders. But the restructuring will cost about £30,000.

Joanne Fairfax, who manages the nursery with Lindsay Lamb, said: “This is such a vital service for parents from Lynemouth and the surrounding area.

“We know that there is almost no alternative childcare for the children we look after and if we are unable to continue to operate then parents may end up having to leave their jobs, which would be a disaster for each and every one of the families we support.

“We have specialist staff here who have been trained to look after children with complex health needs and we offer a before and after school service for children attending Ellington First School, as well as full day care for younger children. Who is going to help these families if we have to shut?”

Staff are working with MP for the area Sir Alan Beith and local county councillor Milburn Douglas to see what can be achieved and are calling on anyone with business expertise to help.

Sir Alan said: “It makes no sense to allow such an excellent facility to close when families are so reliant on the services and I am doing everything I can to help find a solution.

“We need to make sure that the service continues in the short term for those families whose children attend, but also to make sure it has a secure and sustainable future.”

The nursery is asking parents to fill in a questionnaire about what impact its loss would have on their family. If those who use the service have not received a questionnaire, please call 01670 862770 for a copy.