Funding squeeze leaves preschool with no option but to close

PUBLISHED: 15:35 17 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:35 17 October 2018

Little World Preschool sponsored pedal race.

Little World Preschool sponsored pedal race.

Archant

A village preschool will close after more than 45 years because funding streams could no longer cover its running costs.

Little World Preschool, in Yatton, will officially shut on October 26, leaving five employees redundant and parents needing to find an alternative place for their children.

Shelagh Williams, who has been a head of the management committee for about 18 years, said it was a ‘sad’ situation but an inevitable move because of cost pressures.

She said: “It’s very sad. People have been very loyal over the years to the preschool.

“Parents bring their children in having come themselves as a child.

“Unfortunately life moves on.”

Shelagh’s children, who are now in their 40s, attended Little World Preschool when they were growing up.

It started out as a play school in 1972 but Shelagh feels the world has changed in those intervening years, making life harder for preschools.

She said: “In 1972, mothers were more at home so it was a social time for the children and them.

“But now mothers often work and so they often need full-time childcare.”

She said the Government’s funding of up to 30 hours free childcare a week has impacted on preschools’ popularity.

Shelagh added: “We have been hanging on and hanging on (financially).

“The children’s places are funded but in the past 10 years I think we have only had one increase in funding during that time.”

And yet at the same time salaries for staff have continued to rise and preschools cannot charge parents extra money for services, putting the squeeze on its resources.

Little World Preschool was granted a rent reduction by the Methodist church, but sadly it was not enough to secure its future.

The decision to close was made in July, with parents and staff informed in August that the centre would shut for good in late-October. The children have all found new preschool places.

A sale of its items will take place on October 26-27 to raise funds for the church from 10am to noon.

Pre-sale enquiries can be made by emailing littleworldatyatton@gmail.com

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