Parents will demand a re-think over the proposed closure of a college nursery when they stage a protest today.
Mums and dads are set to wield placards and banners at Lynn’s College of West Anglia in a show of anger against plans to shut its Apple Wood Children’s Nursery this summer in order to help plug a £2 million funding gap in the college’s finances.
It comes ahead of a meeting between parents and college principal David Pomfret on Monday, and also a motion set to be debated by West Norfolk Council urging councillors to work with college bosses to keep the “vital” facility open.
The college revealed last month that the nursery, used by students, college staff and members of the public, could close as early as July with the loss of 15 full and part-time jobs.
Making the announcement, Mr Pomfret pleaded with politicians to put an end to the austerity he says is leaving the college with “an almost impossible task” of maintaining standards with less money.
Today’s protest at the college, which takes place from 4pm, has been organised by parents including student Kayleigh Enefer, from Clenchwarton.
The 19-year-old, who sends her 20-month-old daughter Sophia to the nursery, has already set up a petition at the college, and another online, fighting the proposal – and has collected in excess of 500 signatures so far.
Miss Enefer said parents fear they may have to give up their studies or jobs if the nursery were to close.
“I am trying to make a better future for myself and my daughter, but I could have to give up my studies if the nursery closes as there’s no-one else available to look after her,” she said.
Parents will also voice their concerns when meetings are held with Mr Pomfret at 3pm and 6.30pm on Monday.
And in the motion to be debated at a West Norfolk Council meeting next week, Labour councillor Gary McGuinness has called for action.
The motion reads: “Council asks its appointed representative on the College of West Anglia Board of Governors to work with the College Management Team to enable the Apple Wood Children’s Nursery, operated by the college, to remain open as a vital facility used by students and staff of the college.”
The plea has already won the backing of council leader Nick Daubney who, in his report to the same meeting, wrote: “As a serving member of the college board I shall work as constructively as I can with the College Management and Board colleagues with a view to preserving what I believe to be a valuable provision.”