Nursery school faces 'imminent closure' without cash boost

Rebecca Browne and Penni Purkhardt outside Busy Bees Childcare Centre in Wimbish

Rebecca Browne and Penni Purkhardt at Busy Bees - Credit: Busy Bees Childcare Centre

A nursery school could close down for good if it cannot find an extra £20,000.

More than 20 children could lose their early years education places if Busy Bees Childcare Centre in Wimbish goes under.

Staff at Busy Bees, which is an independent not-for-profit organisation, have taken a pay cut and are fundraising online to keep the nursery open.

Rebecca Browne, who has managed the centre since 2014, said the preschool is surviving "week by week".

She said: "These children have missed out on so much education due to the lockdowns."

Rebecca Browne and Penni Purkhardt at Busy Bees Childcare Centre in Wimbish, Essex

Rebecca Browne and Penni Purkhardt are part of a team looking after children at Busy Bees - Credit: Busy Bees Childcare Centre


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Rebecca added: "We are the only preschool in Wimbish and Debden.

"Some of the parents live locally and do not drive.

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"It's not just the loss of education - we have taken some of our families to Citizens Advice when they need it and our doors are always open for children in need.

"All the staff have taken a pay cut because we love our jobs and want to stay open.

"Busy Bees is just one extended family but we're surviving week by week."

The nursery can accommodate up to 40 children.

Rebecca explained that the number fee-paying families dipped when the pandemic began, which resulted in revenue losses.

The nursery is currently operating at just over half its capacity with 21 children on its books.

But extra cleaning costs have prolonged the pandemic's financial impact on the nursery.

Rebecca wrote to parents on Friday, October 8 warning them that Busy Bees is "facing the possibility of imminent closure" from Friday, October 22.

The nursery has since found funding to stave off the closure, but will need to review the financial situation weekly.

Busy Bees takes in children from the community and military children from nearby Carver Barracks, a British Army base.

The British Army offered its sympathies to the nursery.

A spokesperson said: "We are aware of the financial shortfall facing the Busy Bees Childcare Centre.

"It has served military and civilian families for many years and we hope that a solution can be found so that it can remain open."

Busy Bees has launched a GoFundMe page for its campaign: https://gofund.me/45cc651e

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