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Uncertain future for outstanding March after school club

Working parents could be left without vital childcare unless a before and after school club can find a new leader.

A question mark is hanging over the future of the Out of School Club run by the Maple Grove Community Group in March after being unable to recruit a new club leader.

Now the group has put out an urgent appeal to find someone for the role – or face the devastating possibility of having to close.

Staff from the group’s pre-school have been helping to run the out-of-school club since the last leader left six months ago.

But with more children using the club than ever before, it needs a dedicated leader so the setting’s overall standards – rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted – can be maintained.

Group manager Tina Bidwell said: “We are an outstanding setting but if we spread our resources too thinly we won’t be able to maintain those high standards.

“We’ve been able to manage without a leader in the short-term, but long-term it’s just not sustainable.

“We don’t want to think about closing the club as it will be our working mums and dads who are affected. But it is busier now than it ever has been and if we don’t find a new leader I’m not sure what will happen.”

The club is currently used by more than 100 children from the group’s pre-school and also Westwood Primary School.

It provides care for children aged from three to 11, and is open from 8am to 6pm – providing vital wraparound care for mums and dads who work full-time.

Youngsters can enjoy breakfast before school, and a snack afterwards, with a range of planned activities.

Staff also ensure children from Westwood are dropped off and collected from school, from both the Maple site next door and Oak site across the road.

Mrs Bidwell said the group has been trying to find a new club leader since April.

Job advertisements have been placed in the Citizen, on the Education Personnel Management website and other job websites, as well as in local supermarkets and the library. Leaflets have also been handed out, and the job was posted on the group’s Facebook page.

“We’re desperate and not sure what else we can do,” said Mrs Bidwell. “We are really hoping someone will come forward.”

The group would ideally like someone who has a Level 3 childcare qualification. However, as all existing staff are qualified, they would also be interested in hearing from those with experience in other areas such as in a supervising role, or in health and social care.

Anyone who can help can contact Mrs Bidwell on 01354 660543 or email: mgcg@tesco.net

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