Consultation set for day nursery

CONSULTATION is set to start on the future of a Wisbech day nursery.

Cambridgeshire County Council is to undertake a review of the badly under-used Oasis Nursery to decide what changes if any should be made.

Closure of the nursery is a possibility, but Jemma Keegan, the county’s Early Years and Child Sufficiency Co-ordinator, stressed that the Oasis Children’s Centre was not under threat.

The day nursery, which is based at the Oasis Centre, has 50 full-time places for children aged from birth to four-year-olds, but is currently running at around half capacity.

This means the Local Authority has to subsidise the nursery for the 78 users - money which could be used to provide additional services at the Oasis Children’s Centre.

Mrs Keegan explained the aim of the consultation is to determine whether the day nursery is the best use of funding and whether money could be used to better affect to help families in the Waterlees area,

Consultation is set to start from November 14 and will run until December 9.

There will be a range of options for interested parties to consider and Mrs Keegan said the aim was to ensure that the services provided at the Children’s Centre meet the needs of the children and families living locally.

She said there are around 800 children aged from birth four living in the Waterlees area, which is catered for by the Oasis Children’s Centre.

The fact that the nursery is only used by 78 children - and only 54 of those live within half a mile of the centre - raises the question of whether or not it is the best use of resources.

Mrs Keegan said options being considered range from tendering the nursery out for another provider to run to closing it.

It is unclear how much money will be saved by closing the nursery, or passing the running over to another provider, but any savings would be reinvested into the Children’s Centre.

Mrs Keegan said the savings would be used to provide extra services that would benefit the local families, such as more parent support groups, offering additional messy play sessions and other similar activities.

She said the loss of the nursery should not cause problems for parents who need day care for their children as their is plenty of alternative provision in the vicinity.

But she emphasised no decisions had been made and all options would be considered.