NHS cuts mean closure of Brierfield nursery

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A BRIERFIELD nursery is set to close in April as it is no longer financially viable.

The Tree House Nursery, based in the Family Tree Centre in Tunstill Square, opened its doors four and a half years ago offering a service for children aged between six months and five years.

Despite growing numbers of children at the nursery, NHS East Lancashire has decided to close it as it has relied on additional funding from the Family Tree Centre that is no longer available.

Ann Crichton, Children and Families Manager from NHS East Lancashire, said: “Since Tree House Nursery opened in August 2006 the nursery staff and Children’s Centre have worked extremely hard to provide a safe and stimulating nursery environment for the children attending.

“Although the number of children attending has steadily risen over the years, it has proven impossible to make the nursery financially independent and sustainable.

“Therefore, in the light of the harsh economic climate, a decision has been made to close the centre on April 8th. It has been a very difficult decision that we have had to make but these are very challenging times for everyone.

“However, we are committed to working very closely with the families of the children affected to help them find an alternative day care provider and all efforts will be made to find staff suitable alternative employment.”

Coun. Nawaz Ahmed, Chairman of Pendle Council’s Brierfield and Reedley Committee, said: “The announcement that Tree House Nursery is to close in less than two months’ time is a terrible blow for families in Brierfield and Reedley.

“I understand 43 children are affected. Quite apart from the disruption to them, it is not clear how quickly alternative arrangements can be made for them locally.

“At the same time I am told five full-time members of staff are to lose their jobs. I expect they will remember Andrew Stephenson MP telling us before the election last year that Sure Start centres were safe. This is yet another coalition promise that has been broken.”