Preschool cash crux

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 February 2015

Sarah Hayett and Debbie Davie with children showing the holes in their current waterproofs.

Sarah Hayett and Debbie Davie with children showing the holes in their current waterproofs.

Archant

PRESCHOOLS and nurseries in North Somerset say they are struggling to stay afloat due to rising costs.

Sarah Hayett and Debbie Davie with children showing the holes in their current waterproofs.Sarah Hayett and Debbie Davie with children showing the holes in their current waterproofs.

All three and four year olds are entitled to 570 hours of free early education each year, but preschools claim the money they receive from the Government is not enough to cover the cost of looking after the children.

Greenslade Preschool, which is based in Pound Lane in Nailsea, says it has to raise an increasing amount of money each year and its leaders are worried they may not be able to stay open much longer.

Preschool leader Deborah Williams said: “All nurseries and preschools are really struggling because the funding we get is not enough to cover the cost of having the children.

“They say it’s a free entitlement but it’s actually costing us.

Sarah Hayett and Debbie Davie with children showing the holes in their current waterproofs.Sarah Hayett and Debbie Davie with children showing the holes in their current waterproofs.

“Funding has been frozen for seven years but in the meantime all our costs have gone up – the minimum wage has risen, employers now have a pension responsibility and gas and electric prices have all gone up.

“We are constantly trying to raise money but the gap is getting bigger and bigger and the money we need to find is becoming unrealistic.

“We don’t know how much longer we can carry on - it’s something we are reviewing each year.

“The council has to provide these places so they need to have settings open, but how long can they carry on like this?”

Private day nurseries are also finding it tough. Emma McCarthy, owner of Golden Valley nursery, said: “Everyone is experiencing the same thing.

“We haven’t had a rise in the hourly rates for several years but the cost of everything else is going up.

“Because we are a private nursery some children do more than the funded hours so that helps us to keep ticking over.

Preschools are finding it incredibly hard because they can’t function properly with just the hourly rate as it doesn’t cover staff costs, rent and heating costs.”

Greenslade Preschool is appealing for donations of waterproof trousers and jackets so the children can play outside. Call 01275 858359 or email admin@greensladepreschool.org.uk


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