Sunderland kindergarten given hope for survival

Nick Dow, centre, with parents and staff from the Premier Kindergarten, Plains Farm Primary School.

Nick Dow, centre, with parents and staff from the Premier Kindergarten, Plains Farm Primary School.

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A KINDERGARTEN under threat of closure has been handed a lifeline.

Premier Kindergarten, in Tudor Grove, Plains Farm, was due to close on February 10 after cuts to Government financial help meant it couldn’t continue.

The news left parents of more than 30 youngsters worrying for the future of their children’s care, with many saying the move could prove upsetting and disrupt working arrangements.

But after a campaign group was set up in the hope of keeping the kindergarten going, it will now stay open until April.

Parents and staff have been on a fund-raising drive to generate cash so the facility can run self-sufficiently.

They have also been advertising the service in a bid to get more children signed up.

Nick Dow, whose son Kian, five, went to Premier and is now at Plains Farm Primary, has been leading the campaign to keep it open.

“The response has been fantastic,” said Mr Dow, of Farringdon, whose wife Victoria works at Premier. “That we’ve been given more time is the best news we could have got. If it were to close it would mean a lot of problems for a lot of people.”

Premier opened in 2003 and has cared for hundreds of pre-school children during its existence. Although an extension of Plains Farm Primary School, it is not under Sunderland City Council’s control.

Moya Thirlwell, headteacher at Plains Farm Primary, said: “Due to an increase in income throughout October, November and December, governors have been able to extend the kindergarten’s possible closure until the end of April, which gives it more time to look for further funding and try to attract more children into the facility.

“We are also looking for any children who turned three before the end of December but haven’t accessed their 15 hours’ free childcare. We can provide this as long as they get registered before January 19.”

Parents of two-year-old children can also get advice on whether they can be considered for a referral to request 15 hours’ free childcare at Premier, through the Two-Year-Old Pathfinder initiative.

For more information call 553 6045.

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