PARENTS and staff at a playschool in Durrington are ‘gutted’ at a decision to close the group after 25 years.
Little Oaks, in Winterbourne Way, is being closed by the board of governors of The Laurels Primary School next door.
The playschool, a registered charity, will shut in July when the lease on the building expires, as the governors want to open a new nursery attached to the school in September.
A petition to stop the closure has been proposed by parent Natasha Darval, whose two-year-old daughter Madison attends the group.
“I am absolutely gutted,” said Natasha, of Pennycress Avenue.
“It is a lovely, lovely playschool, and we literally have only found out so I don’t have a clue what to do because Madison is settled and happy here, so trying to move her somewhere different will be quite upsetting for her.”
Mum-of-three Zoe Field has been sending her children to the group for 11 years.
She said: “I live in Goring, but I choose to take my children there because I believe it’s the best. The staff put their hearts into it. That is who I feel more for.”
The group caters for children aged two to five, including some with disabilities, and it is run as a non-profit organisation.
Tracy Waters, early years practitioner, said: “It is very sad. I am absolutely gutted, the charity has been part of the community for 25 years. We are all devastated about the loss of our jobs.
“We have all put a lot of love and dedication into it, and we are all dedicated outside our working hours.”
Natalie Mardell, chairman of Little Oaks, added: “We are all extremely heartbroken with the prospect of having to permanently close our doors.
“All the staff care deeply about the children and we feel sad for the distress this will cause them. We truly hope that this article will reach out to someone who knows of a building that we could relocate to.”
Lisa De Carteret, head teacher of The Laurels Primary School, said: “The school governors have taken this opportunity to look at how we can create a childcare service which meets the future needs of the families and the community of The Laurels Primary School.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Little Oaks for the services they have provided to the school and local community and we hope to be able to work closely with them in the coming months to ensure a smooth transition for parents.”
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