Blow to families as Burnley community nursery set to close

The nursery
The nursery
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A charity nursery, which provided for some of the most deprived and vulnerable families in Burnley, has been forced to close due to lack of funding.

Trustees for the Little Acorns Community Nursery at the Chai Centre in Hurtley Street, Stoneyholme, blamed the Government's 'unequitable distribution of money through the National Funding Formula'.

Falling footfall to the Chai Centre, due to many services being relocated from there, was also cited as a reason for the sad closure of the nursery.

The nursery, which employed seven people and was rated 'good' by Ofsted just last August, has been at the Chai Centre since 2004.

Trustee Peter Hindle said: "Despite all our great work, the government, with its unequitable distribution of money through the National Funding Formula and its ongoing failure to increase payments in line with minimum wage increases, no longer pays us enough to continue to provide the so called Free Entitlement.

"Small nurseries in deprived areas are struggling most with this. Lancashire private nurseries received the lowest rates of funding in the country.

"We have made all the efficiency savings we can and the current model does not work. Like so many other nurseries around the country we are now paying the ultimate price for the government's Early Years national policy failure.

"Independent research (NDNA Nursery Survey England 2018) shows we should be getting £1.90 an hour more than we currently receive. This extra £1.90 per hour is what we needed to continue. The Treasury Committee (Childcare, March 2018) found that early years settings were being paid against wage data from 2013, despite many increases in minimum wage.

"The rates for the next year are fixed and we cannot survive on them. The trustees have extensively reviewed the position to the end of March along with the budget for the following twelve months and have determined that it is not financially safe to continue."

As a result, Little Acorns will close at the end of this term on Friday March 29th when all the Spring term funding has been used.

Peter added: "Many thanks to the Chai Centre for having us, we hope you find a new way to serve the community.

"Thank you to all our parents, a list of local settings is attached to support your move. And last but certainly not least, a massive thanks to our staff, you could have done no more."