Cash lifeline saves clubs at Sunderland school

Play Workers Leanne Henshaw (left) and Fiona Temple with youngsters from Valley Road School.

Play Workers Leanne Henshaw (left) and Fiona Temple with youngsters from Valley Road School.

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A VITAL childcare service has been saved from the axe at the 11th hour.

Valley Road Primary School was facing having to scrap its breakfast club and after-school club, known as The Hive, next month due to the funding drying up.

Parents had even been told it would close at Easter, but a last ditch bid for funding was successful.

George Stobbart, deputy principal at the Hendon school, said it had been a heartbreaking decision to announce the closure of both clubs.

He said: “Grants had enabled us to set our childcare fees at an affordable price. The true cost of childcare at both the breakfast club and The Hive would be too steep to be met by parents through fees alone therefore we have relied upon subsidises to keep the costs affordable.”

Over the past few years the breakfast club has been able to run from donations through regeneration programme Back on the Map, which is folding this spring, resulting in the loss of funding to the school for the club.

The after-school club was most recently funded by a sustainability grant, which was also drying up.

But the deputy principal said everyone is now overjoyed the clubs have been saved.

He said: “We are absolutely ecstatic. It is especially good news for the parents who use the club, many of whom had said they might have to change jobs or give up work if it closed.”

On average about 35 children use the Corporation Road school’s breakfast club every day and around 14 children are members of the after-school club.

Principal Chris Young, said: “I am very pleased to say that funding has been made available to the school to support us in the short term and allow us the opportunity to look at a longer term business plan to generate funding for the forthcoming years.

“We are extremely grateful to parents who raised awareness with many people and organisations and thankfully we can continue supporting parents in employment and bring the social and health benefits and safe environment for the children who attend.

“Today everyone is happy and relieved: our parents, their children and our childcare staff.”