Pollywiggle nurseries in Sheffield and Rotherham to close with six days notice to parents
A pair of nurseries in Sheffield and Rotherham will shut next week just days before the back to school rush in what its owner has called a “sad, deeply regrettable decision”.
Both branches of Pollywiggle Day Nursery in North Anston and Treeton will permanently shut on September 1 at a loss of up to 140 childcare places.
Parents were informed in an email on Wednesday night leaving many of them faced with trying to find alternatives less than a fortnight before the end of the school holidays.
Business director Kirsty Hanberry said she took the “painful” decision in the wake of financial difficulties brought on by Covid as well as her own health, while saying the nursery sector is in “crisis”.
“It’s an incredibly sad situation and if I could have done anything different to save the nurseries I would have,” said the owner of 11 years.“I made this sudden decision because I know I can pay my staff this month and don’t know if I could in the next, which I don’t want.”
The last remaining branch of Pollywiggle in Mexborough, Doncaster, will remain open.
The two sites in North Anston and Treeton, which were both rated Good in their latest Ofsted inspections, each provide up to 70 places.
One parent, Hannah Rose, is facing returning to work as a teacher next week without childcare for her young daughter in light of the site in North Anston closing.
She said: “There will be all these kids with no childcare and nurseries are oversubscribed already. I’ve been left with no childcare myself ad I’m going back to work next week.
“It’s been a fantastic nursery. My little girl has come along so well there and the staff worked brilliantly with her needs. I really get the feeling they love her there.”
Kirsty also criticized the Government for what she called a “total lack” of funding and support for nurseries.
She said: “After staying open while schools had to close we have not had nearly enough support. For example, while minimum wages have gone up 55p a year the funding has not risen to match it.
“Covid-19 has had such a major impact on the industry, not just in having less parents on board but parents taking less days. We would normally have cash reserves to see us though the summer term but this year we just don’t.
“I don’t know if the nursery sector will ever be as vibrant again unless the Government wakes up and provides support.”
Kirsty also shared in her email to parents was she was battling illness, and told the Star she was diagnosed last October with aggressive breast cancer.
She wrote to parents in the email on Wednesday: “It is with great sadness that I have made the decision to close the Pollywiggle [in North Anston and Treeton]. Unfortunately, I have had no choice to action this so quickly.
“There have been multiple factors when making this difficult decision, including a lack of Government financial support through this difficult time, the continued impact of Covid and the fact I am still undergoing treatment for a life threatening illness.
“This decision has not been taken lightly. I am so sorry again and I wish you and your families all the very best for the future.”