Tots to teens services at Wisbech college to close
PUBLISHED: 17:48 21 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:37 02 June 2010
By Maggie Gibson CAMPAIGNERS who fought to save Tots to Teens services in Wisbech have been told it must close in July. Parents and staff thought they had won the battle to keep the facilities at the Isle Campus of the College of West Anglia but on Tues
By Maggie Gibson
CAMPAIGNERS who fought to save Tots to Teens services in Wisbech have been told it must close in July.
Parents and staff thought they had won the battle to keep the facilities at the Isle Campus of the College of West Anglia but on Tuesday they were told of the closure.
The pre-school, after school club, and Parents and Tots Group will cease operating in July. Around 20 children use the pre-school facilities and 16 youngsters the after-school club.
Campaign organiser Tracy Loughlin said: "It really is a bolt out of the blue. I am absolutely gutted - this is just devastating news.
"All parents were 100 per cent behind the pre-school and we had huge support from the community. We thought we had saved it and now this has happened, the staff and parents are gutted, it is very sad."
Campaigners sprang into action last May when the college announced it was ending the service as a cost-cutting measure. It claimed the service was losing around £30,000 a year.
The college argued that the facilities were originally to cater for the children of students and staff but were being used mainly by families in the community.
During the campaign Cambridgeshire County Council stepped in with a financial rescue package for the current year allowing time for an alternative provider to be found.
College principal David Pomfret said: "We are aware of how much this service is valued by the parents who use it and have worked hard to find a way for it to remain open.
"Unfortunately, despite some initial optimism and following extensive enquiries exploring potential options, the college has been unable to secure a provider which can fulfil the required legal obligations to be met when transferring employees.
"The county council has also advised us that the temporary funding cannot be continued and, with the service estimated to make a loss of £24,000, regrettably, the college must revert to the original proposal to close the centre."
The college believes parents will have little difficulty finding alternative provision in the town.
FLASHBACK: June 2009 after campaigners celebrated keeping the service open. Less than a year later they heard it will close. 4858BP410