Sheffield children’s centre is saved

Parents, children and staff at Broomhall U-3 Nursery
Parents, children and staff at Broomhall U-3 Nursery
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Jubilant parents and staff at a Sheffield children’s centre are celebrating after saving the nursery from closure.

The under-three provision at Broomhall Nursery was due for closure in December after the council withdrew a childcare subsidy following Government cuts to Early Years education.

But mums and dads determined to secure the centre’s future and retain employees’ jobs have worked closely with staff and will now run the centre as an social enterprise,

Parent Naomi Watkins, from Broomhill, said: “My three children went through the nursery – the provision is so exceptional we just couldn’t let it close.

“When the closure was first announced we wrote to councillors and MPs but didn’t get anywhere, then a year ago I suggested that parents and staff should run it as a social enterprise and it has taken until now to get to that point.

“We’re so relieved to have saved the centre and staff’s jobs.”

Under the new model, the day-to-day running of the centre, now known as Broomhall Under 3s, is handled by joint managers Jill Wilkinson and Theresa Fletcher, assisted by a management board of parents with a varying skills set.

A drop-in funding means dedicated staff have taken a pay cut and have lost benefits they received when the centre was council run, but they say it has been worthwhile.

“It would have been devastating for staff and families if the centre had closed,” said manager Jill.

“We achieved ‘outstanding’ in our 2013 Ofsted and are committed to delivering quality.

“We’ve had this hanging over our heads for three years so it’s great to be able to continue with the jobs we love.”