A new group is campaigning to save three nurseries in the borough from closure. Save Lewisham Nurseries says:
We want to keep open the Honor Oak Park, Ladywell and Rushey Green Early Childhood Centres. The centres, which are well equipped and resourced, promote early learning and development for:
- Children under 5, an increasing age group in Lewisham.
- Children with complex needs, who have a right to be an integrated part of the community.
- Children from all social backgrounds
We plan to work as closely as we can with the Lewisham Council to find a solution to the funding crisis. We are also conducting our own research into funding models for the nurseries. So, 4 projects, all focussed our primary aim of keeping the Lewisham nurseries open.
The Council describes its plans in a recent summary of its capital projects:
The strategy set out in the Budget proposals for 2011-14 was that the LA should stop being a childcare provider. It was agreed that the Council would close Amersham Early Childhood Centre (EYCC) and seek to transfer the three remaining centres, at Rushey Green, Honor Oak and Ladywell, through a competitive process.
In 2011/12 the lower levels of occupancy and the failure to transfer Rushey Green as planned originally means that there is a budget over spend of £832k. The closure of the three centres in August 2012 will enable the original saving of £2.18m to be achieved.
The anticipated redundancy costs are estimated to be £1.033m subject to final calculations of individual entitlements.
The Mayor is recommended to agree:
- Consultation on the closure of the early childhood centres at Rushey Green, Honor Oak and Ladywell
- That the formal closure date is proposed as 31 August 2012