'We will save our pre-school': Northampton community campaigns to fight against closure

Parents and children pictured outside Dallington Pre-school which they are campaigning to keep open.
Parents and children pictured outside Dallington Pre-school which they are campaigning to keep open.

A community in Northampton is rallying together to fight for their nursery threatened by closure.

A petition has been set up by parents and stakeholders of Dallington Pre-school after Learning Alliance (PLA) have served notice that they are considering shutting down the nursery due to lack of Government funding.

Parents have lobbied their local councillor, Gareth Eales (Dallington & Spencer, Labour) for support to try and keep the nursery open.

Councillor Eales said: "I have offered to work with PLA to try and work through any issues, including trying to find alternate solutions, such as a community group or organisation to take over the Dallington Pre-school. PLA just cutting and running would be unacceptable.

"The children and parents that use Dallington deserve better! I do sympathise to an extent with PLA as there are thousands of nurseries all over the country closing due to lack of government funding. Here in Northampton the local county council cannot step in [because of its financial crisis], all a by-product of austerity, but that aside, we need a solution for Dallington Pre-school now.

"I hope PLA act responsibly and allow all options to be exhausted to ensure there is no impact on children parents or staff. I will keep doing what I can."

Parent and organiser of the online petition, Hayley Bligh, said parents were concerned where their children would attend nursery in September.

She said: "The news of the potential closure of Dallington Pre-school has had a devastating impact on all the families that use the setting.

"These last few weeks have been a whirlwind and this news has brought our whole community together as we all know the closing of Dallington Pre-school is detrimental for our community.

"Children thrive here and have built firm bonds with the amazing staff. We are well aware that there is lots of factors that have brought us to this point be it the 30 funded hours, living wage and increased pension contributions - but why should our children suffer? As parents we are campaigning to secure the future of Dallington Pre-school and the future of our children."

A spokesperson for Dallington Pre-school said: “As parents and councillors have rightly pointed out, Dallington Pre-school is sadly one of a number of settings suffering from the effects of a national early years funding crisis, which has already led to the closure of many childcare providers across the country. The financial pressures facing the pre-school have meant that, unfortunately, we have had no choice but to take the difficult decision to consult with staff on the potential closure of the setting.

“However, it is important to note that this consultation is still ongoing and no final decision has yet been taken. We are continuing to work hard and explore all options to find alternatives to closure including speaking with local councillors, though unfortunately no viable solutions have been put forward to us to date.”

“We will continue to keep parents updated through this process and are grateful for their ongoing support and understanding during this difficult time.”

You can sign the petition here.