Nursery Closes – edit – SAVED!

This was the post from Phil on the Parish Council Blog about the Nursery managed by First Place.

I’m sure many residents will be aware the nursery has closed, it’s owners, First Place, shut it down with 48hours notice. Please support those trying to reopen it – it’s a great nursery!

I’m still trying to get to the truth why it closed – the First Place won’t give me straight answers.

Shock as nursery closes suddenly From This is Gloucester.
Thursday, April 01, 2010, 10:04

​Parents and staff at a nursery school have been left in shock after bosses announced its sudden closure.

Workers at the First Place Nursery, in Upper Rissington, were left in tears when they were informed of the news, which will leave them jobless.

Parents say they are outraged by the sudden nature of the closure – they were given less than 48 hours to find alternative care – and have demanded answers.

Lisa Sheppard, from Upper Rissington, whose daughter goes to the nursery, said: “Our lives have been turned upside down. It is a complete bombshell dropped on all concerned with no thought or consideration for the small children whose little worlds have been disrupted.”

The nursery currently has 40 children on its books, mostly between the ages of one and five, and employs 10 staff.

Mother-of-two Emma Roberts, 38, said: “We are furious about the situation. The nursery bosses have left us high and dry.

“Parents like me have been forced into a really difficult position. We now have to find other places for our children, which will mean we have to travel further to get there. It will create huge disruption.”

Emma, whose two children – Sam, two, and George, six – attend the nursery, hit out at bosses for not giving them more notice about the closure.

“They have gone about it in a really underhand way,” she said. “They must have known about this for some time, but we have found out less than 48 hours before it is due to close. It’s a complete disgrace.”

Lisa and Emma said the nursery had been rated “outstanding” in its most recent Ofsted report.

Parents will now be forced to enrol their children at alternative nurseries in the area, facing the prospect of driving 40 minutes to Cheltenham every morning.

Staff were reported to be in tears yesterday after receiving a letter informing them of the news.

One female worker, who did not want to be named, said: “We are all completely stunned by the news.

“We’re a very closely-knit community and none of us saw this coming.

“It is a devastating blow, not only to us but to the children who will be thrown into a totally different environment.”

Staff and parents vowed to join forces to save the nursery, but said they had not had enough time to mount a campaign.

Jan Harris, managing director of First Place Nurseries, issued a statement yesterday expressing regret about the closure.

She said: “We understand the disruption and upset this decision will cause to parents, but we have tried everything possible to avoid this situation.

“The nursery has never been able to attract enough numbers from the surrounding area for it to achieve financial viability.

“We have supported the organisation for the last five years in the hope that the local population would grow and be able to support the business, but it has continued to lose significant amounts of money since opening.”

She added the company had contacted its Cheltenham branch in Bath Road to offer displaced youngsters extended sessions and free lunch until the end of the summer term.

11 thoughts on “Nursery Closes – edit – SAVED!

  1. I bet that’s a big blow to families that used it 🙁

    Not having young children & new to the village, was the nursery used a lot?

    I think this should be an agenda item for the Parish Council meeting on the 12th April.

  2. Parent power to rescue stricken nursery

    Saturday, April 03, 2010, 11:00 Article from This is Gloucestershire.

    ​A NURSERY in the Cotswolds which was dramatically closed by bosses last week could be rescued.

    Parents, children and staff were stunned to learn the First Place Nursery at Upper Rissington, near Bourton, was suddenly closing its doors as it wasn’t a viable business.

    However, caring father Mark Carpenter, whose son Archie attended the business park-based facility, has stepped in to save it.

    He aims to relaunch a new venture, Little Stars Nursery, but with the same staff, parents and children.

    Mark, 39, who is also a parish councillor and runs the former RAF base’s youth club, said: “We were all shocked at the news – but my first reaction was ‘I don’t have any choice – I have to do something’.

    “My primary concern is my little boy’s continuing care and safety. My partner Jane and I were very concerned about moving him as he loves the nursery and staff.

    “I felt the business needed a day-to-day hands-on approach which it hasn’t had and could see how to make cost savings.

    “I own a small business, MAC Eyewear, in the Innovation Centre next door to the nursery and we only live 100 yards away.

    “So I thought I’d come up with a rescue package.”

    Mark approached landlords Reland, the developers who manage the Upper Rissington site, with his plan.

    “Thankfully we’ve had great support from them and done a deal over an affordable rent for the short-term while we get on our feet,” he said.

    “We’re working very closely with the existing carers to stay on and Veronny Farey , a pillar of the nursery, will remain as centre manager and Pippa Arnott as the administrator. We’re going to form a management team bringing in more parents with different skills.”

    But Mark, who has three other children, Cecily, 12, Lawrence, 13, and Thomas, 11, has been hit with a significant setback.

    “We were hoping to re-open on Tuesday, but First Place told us they were emptying the building,” he said.

    “Many of the toys had been donated by the parents and we’d hoped to keep those.

    “So we’re now appealing for donations – everything a child would need at home – from toys, plastic plates and cups to carry cots. If we have all 39 parents bringing a bag of things up then we can provide the basics that Ofsted would require for a nursery. I hope to be up and running by Wednesday or Thursday or early the week after.”

    Parents were given fewer than 48 hours to find alternative care when the closure was announced.

    The nursery, rated ‘outstanding’ in its latest Ofsted report, had 40 children on its books, mainly aged one to five, and employs about six staff.

    First Place Nurseries managing director Jan Harris said the company had ‘tried everything possible’ to avoid the situation.

    She said the five-year-old nursery had never been able to attract enough local children to achieve financial viability and had been losing money.

    Mum-of-four Rosalind Logan, from Upper Rissington, said: “Three of my children, Benedict, Abigail and Freddie, have been at the nursery and I’m really pleased and excited it’s being relaunched.

    “The facilities are the best in a 20-mile radius and the dedicated and mature staff is the best. It was prices and management issues which drove a lot of parents away, as the headquarters was so far away and out-of-touch with the community.”

    Developers Reland Ltd have just won an appeal against Cotswold District Council to build up to 368 new homes at Upper Rissington, which will double the village’s size.

  3. Reply to David – The nursery was popular, it had around 40 attendees. It was very well thought of by all I have spoken to. Not sure what is going to happen to it now, allegedly there are 3 people/groups looking to take it over. I guess Reland will go for the the most likely to suceed and the highest bidder.

  4. Hello

    The same thing has just happened to our nursery in Fairford, Gloucestershire. A group of parents is looking at whether we can save it. I would really like to get in touch with Mark Carpenter – does anyone have contact details? Most grateful for any information to

    Many thanks

  5. Hi Jo

    I don’t have Mark’s contact details but I have passed your request onto the parish clerk who does. Hopefully he will pass it onto Mark and then Mark can contact you directly.

  6. I see there is a big banner at the entrance to the business park about the nursery opening soon 🙂

  7. Email sent to Jo, as Mark gave me his email address last night at the Parish Council meeting 🙂

  8. The nursery at Upper Rissington has very successfully reopened under the name Petit Enfant and whats even better we still have Veronny Faye as head and a member of the same staff plus some fantastic new ones. Even though it was the most traumatic time for our family during the months not knowing what was going to happen after the closure of First Place and managing with no child care, I am so happy to have my daughter happily settled back with old and new friends. The staff are part of my family, you dont realise how much if effects your life. What I am upset about is the slander and negative feed back from people who dont even have children at the nursery or any interest in it. There is not one aspect of my daughters care or education I am unhappy with and I will not let people bring the nurserys name down. Veronny and her team are making the very best of what has been a difficult year and official reports and inspection are already very very promising. Lisa

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