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Pre-school Closure


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I'm in an unfortunate situation. My pre-school has been established in a local church hall for over 30 years. Twelve years ago I bought the business from the lady who started the pre-school and had run it up until then. In those twelve years we have had three good Ofsted reports. The pre-school has a high reputation locally, is usually full with a waiting list and was making a small profit. We knew that the church was raising moiney to rebuild its hall which is showing its age and is generally in a pretty poor condition. I understood that the new hall was to be built in the church grounds with our hall to be demolished once the new hall was completed. However a few months ago I was informed thsat due to health and safety reasons our hall had to be demolished at the outset of the building work. The church is not prepared to let us use any other part of their building. We have been looking for alternative accommodation in the area but have not been able to find aything suitable at an affordable rent. So I shall have to close the pre-school at the end of July. I employ nine staff, eight of whom are eligible for redundancy payments. As a sole trader I am personally liable for this cost. So I will not only lose my job, I am also unable to sell my business and will have to find several thousand pounds to pay the redundancy. I feel as if I have been caught in a nasty trap.

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Oh dear Deb I do feel for you. What an unfortunate situation, to put it mildly. Have you spoken yet to your early years advisory team to see what help they can offer? They certainly won't want to let a successful and thriving group like yours fold - they have a duty to ensure there is enough childcare to meet demand in your area and therefore have more than a vested interest in helping you stay open.

 

Hope you manage to get things sorted - what a headache.

 

Maz

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You may be able to get a grant for sustainability as it's in everyone's interests that you are able to provide continuity of care. Is there a local hall or school who would be willing to lease space to you for a short term, or are there any workshop units in the area which the council would be delighted to lease temporarily?

 

We're looking at these things too at the moment

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Just a couple of questions has the church said that you can use the new building when its finished? and if so is there anywhere that a temporary portacabin could be sited until the new build is finished?

regards

Sal

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I'm so sorry to hear of your situation. Some good ideas already. I know of a preschool in my area who had similar problems regarding venue, they had a story in the local paper which resulted in her being offered other accomodation from a reader of the newspaper article, might be worth trying.

 

Peggy

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Im sorry to hear that all you hardwork and finacial commitment has been wiped out by the church! are they compensating you for throwing you out? did you have a rent agreement it just seems unfair that they can distroy your business like that

 

we got booted out of our church while they did a major extention we had no notice we arrived one day to find the kitchen and whole back end of the church under construction we luckily manage to box up some stuff and squatt in another church for 6 months operating 1 hour 50 minute sessions so that we could open straight away (an not loose children) while we waited for ofsted to come and ok the premesis.(took about 6 weeks waiting) It was an adventure to say the least!!!

 

have you looked at all possible accomodation alot of nurseries run from converted houses and shops these days maybe theres an empty shop near you?

 

is there no other way to pay redundancies? I know when my husband was made redundant social services paid his redundancy money because the company had gone into liquidation doesnt your employers liability insurance cover these kind of things?

 

once the church have rebuilt would there be space for you return then? how long will it take because it might be worth checking if you can lay the staff off until the rebuild is complete

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As others have suggested, try the local press. Also write to all present and past parents. Try the early years department at the local council. Write to every other school in the area; your business may be more saleable than you think in that you have staff, goodwill, equipment, waiting lists, reputation etc. Be optimistic and go to town on it. Very best of luck!!

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Thank you for all your kind words of support. I have been in contact with my PSLA development worker and the Local Authority. Everyone has been very sympathetic but still no solution! On the advice of the LA I wrote formally to the church asking what our position would be once the new hall was completed. They wrote back saying the building project may take over a year, they were unwilling to commit themselves as far as future rentals went but they would need to charge a market rent to repay the cost of the building. I have taken legal advice but because the hall is multi -use I am not entitled to any compensation from the church and unless I go personally bankrupt there is no help with the redundancy pay either. Fortunately my husband has a good job so we are not in such dire financial straits. Other local pre-schools don't want to buy the business as they would then take over the liability for staff redundancy. My best hope is to sell the equipment -my nightmare is that I will have to pay to have it dumped in a skip!

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I should add that the parents have bbeen fantastic-formed an action group and got the local paper and MP involved-but still no success. We are in an area where property is still very expensive.

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Hi Deb

 

Just wanted to add my good wishes.

 

I am an owner/manager too - brilliant when everythings going well - but a difficult and lonely position when it's not.

 

Thinking of you - really hope something turns up.

 

Sunnyday

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