Alfred Rose Park Pre-school is set to close after 40 years of serving the community

Alfred Rose Park Pre-school is set to close after 40 years of serving the community.
Alfred Rose Park Pre-school is set to close after 40 years of serving the community.

It has been a charity-run pre-school based in the Alfred Community Centre in Dunsham Lane, Aylesbury, since 1974 and is run my a voluntary committee of trustees.

It has been an important part of the community for many years. It cited ‘funding issues’ as a reason for its closure, and also the introduction of the Government’s 30 hours of free childcare.

The pre-school cannot meet this requirement, as the hall is used for other purposes throughout the week.

The living wage has also meant that the pre-school cannot afford to pay their workers.

Mandy Burgess, who works at the pre-school, said: “We have been struggling financially for some time now.

“This has been made worse by the Government’s free 30 hours of care a week scheme, which has affected us because we do not have the funding to provide this service.

“It is with a heavy heart that we need to confirm that Alfred Rose Park Pre-School will be closing on Friday. The decision has not been made lightly, and the trustees have explored several alternative options. But due to the current financial and governance concerns, they have had to make the decision to close the doors.

“The pre-school would like to thank all the families who have attended over the years for their support.”

Analysis by the National Day Nurseries Association shows that 121 nurseries closed between September 2017 and the end of August 2018, compared with 73 closures in the previous 12 months. This represents a 66 per cent increase in the number of nurseries shutting their doors since the 30 hours of free childcare came in.

Mandy said: “It’s so sad it’s come to this. I started here 13 years ago as a parental helper, subsequently completing all of the national qualifications. It even led me to going to university and completing my BA degree.

“Even my two daughters came to Alfred Rose park.”

Last week the board of trustees who preside over the decision making informed staff that they intended to close after a buyer could not be found.

All four staff members have been made redundant.

Mandy added: “We have to pay for the hall and staff, and the complications arising from this 30-hour government policy has left us without enough money for the day-to- day running of the business.

"Sadly this is symptomatic of the whole country, as more charitable children’s care providers are being taken over by private entities.

Michelle Mason, whose daughter and son both attended the pre-school said: “The pre-school is fantastic as are the staff, they put in 100% with the children that attend and they work extremely hard as a team to make sure the children learn new things as well as having fun.

“With the pre-school set to close I am deeply saddened, my son used to attend there and my daughter is there currently. The staff have been fantastic with both my children and I couldn’t of asked for better, i’ll be sad to see it close for the final time!

“My child won’t have a pre-school to go to I’m now spending most of my time trying to find her a place and when I do find her a place I’m going to have to travel further which may interfere with my other child’s school times.