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Picardy Pre-school celebrates after finding a new home

PUBLISHED: 13:30 13 August 2010

Jubilant staff and parents are celebrating after a pre-school has been saved from closure after finding a new home.

The Picardy Pre-school, which was run from Belvedere and Erith Congregational church hall in Picardy Road, Belvedere, had to leave the site earlier this month after the school’s contract to continue using the venue was not going to be renewed.

As reported in the Times, the pre-school owner, Karen West, 55, of Raglan Road, Belvedere was given until the end of October to find alternative premises, with the possibility of many pupil left without a pre school.

However, after weeks of frantic searching, an alternative site has now been offered to the pre-school in the 9th Erith Beaver Scouts’ hall on Erith Road, Erith.

Ms West said: “We were very worried and had been looking everywhere. These people seem very charitable and they welcomed us in with open arms.

“It’s such a relief to have found a new location.”

A number of children will not be returning to the newly located pre-school after desperate parents sought alternative places in various schools across the borough.

Christina Howitt, 38 of North Road, Belvedere whose three-year-old daughter, Kiara, will return to the school in September said: “I was so releived when I found out that they found a new location for September.

“All the places in other pre-schools had been taken up and if I would have put Kiara’s name on a waiting list she would have been at the bottom of the list. It was a very anxious time.”

Rachel World, 31, from Belvedere, will be sending her five-year-old son Caleb to St Joseph’s Primary School in Crayford, despite the fact that she wanted him to return to the pre-school for a further term.

She said: “They told us they were closing it giving us three weeks notice. We didn’t know if they would find another place and I was concerned that he could have been one of the oldest kids as many children were found alternative places.

“My son cried when I told him it was going to close.”

Ms West, who has spent 22 years working at the school, said: “Lots of the parents have been trying to find a pre-school place desperately so we’ve lost a lot of children.

“It was sad saying goodbye to some of the children’s parents who have had to make a decision on their child care. We are desperately hoping we can build the pre-school up again to make it successful somewhere else.”

The children broke up for the summer holidays last Friday and 30 children will return in September.

Places are available at the pre-school. Contact Karen West on 07941 246 747

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