Parents may be forced to quit work if council closes nurseries
PARENTS fear they may be forced to quit their jobs if Birmingham’s council-run nurseries close.
For many, the nurseries provide a vital community support, often in the most deprived areas of the city.
Families united outside the Council House in Victoria Square recently to protest about the possible closures.
Umair Khatri and his wife Azreen Abduller work hard to support their family and fear one of them may have to leave their job to look after their children if their local nursery closes.
Their two-year-old daughter goes to Lime Tree Nursery in Handsworth and their five-yearold went there until she began school.
“We’ve been going to Lime Tree Nursery for four years,” said Mr Khatri, who works as a tax adviser for an accountancy firm. Azreen works as a part-time teacher and for Crisis homeless charity.
“The service they provide there is outstanding. If it closes, we will have no provision, so where will we send our daughter?
“It will impact us really badly. One of us might have to stop working to cover childcare. If they are planning for people to stop working and keep children at home, how is that making Britain better?”
The couple, from Perry Barr, have researched other local nurseries and feel unhappy about sending their daughter there.
There are just 14 council-run nurseries left in Birmingham and they tend to be used by lowincome families who have no alternative but to use the free subsidised provision.
Joanne Shemans helps to care for her grandson Jacob, three, while his single dad goes to work and university. Jacob was unable to attend his nearest nursery – Reameadow Community Day Nursery in Stirchley – because it was oversubscribed. “That shows how in demand these council-run nurseries are,” said Ms Shemans, from Selly Oak.
“We’ve had to go to a private nursery nearby. But if that one becomes oversubscribed or it closes, I don’t know what we’ll do because the next closest is a drive away and we don’t drive.”
A council spokeswoman said: “We don’t want to close our council-run nurseries, but unfortunately we can’t afford to keep them running at a loss in the current financial climate.
“We understand parents’ concerns, but we would reassure them that there are nurseries run by the voluntary and private sector across Birmingham, and they won’t pay any more.
“There are around 700 nurseries across the city registered to provide early education entitlement of 30 hours per week free nursery care.
> Joanne Shemans and grandson Jacob, protesting outside the council house