Peo­ple power saves nurs­ery from the axe

THE CHIL­DREN’S CEN­TRE

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By CHAR­LOTTE DOB­SON char­lotte.dob­son@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @dob­sonMEN

A NURS­ERY has been saved from clo­sure in a dra­matic U-turn by coun­cil bosses.

Par­ents and staff were in up­roar when town hall chiefs in Bolton an­nounced plans to shut Har­vey Nurs­ery in a bid to save cash.

The pro­pos­als sparked a back­lash among par­ents, staff and union mem­bers, who said the chil­dren’s cen­tre was the last coun­cil­run nurs­ery in the town.

Cam­paign­ers planned a march to Bolton town hall to lobby coun­cil­lors ahead of a full coun­cil meet­ing. But their protest be­came a vic­tory march after the coun­cil de­cided to scrap the clo­sure plans three days be­fore the con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod came to an end.

Deputy coun­cil leader Linda Thomas said: “There has been a real strength of feel­ing around Har­vey Nurs­ery and we have lis­tened care­fully to the views ex­pressed dur­ing con­sul­ta­tion.

“We said this would be a con­sul­ta­tion, where noth­ing was off the ta­ble, and un­less any­thing else sig­nif­i­cant comes up be­fore the end of con­sul­ta­tion, we be­lieve we have now iden­ti­fied a so­lu­tion.

“We are tak­ing the un­usual step of an­nounc­ing what we think our fi­nal de­ci­sion will be be­fore the for­mal end of con­sul­ta­tion to give as­sur­ance to the chil­dren and fam­i­lies at Har­vey.”

The coun­cil was propos­ing to axe 14 jobs, which would have left 60 chil­dren in need of a new nurs­ery place.

The chil­dren’s cen­tre serves one of the most de­prived ar­eas of the town and is also home to other fam­ily ser­vices.

The nurs­ery was said to have an an­nual deficit of al­most £68,000, which coun­cil bosses claimed would in­crease each year it stayed open. Coun Thomas added: “The coun­cil has de­cided to con­tinue to op­er­ate the nurs­ery. “There will be a staged move to in­creas­ing in­come gen­er­ated from fees and from con­sum­ables in or­der to re­duce the cur­rent level of sub­sidy which the coun­cil pro­vides. “The coun­cil has been able to take this de­ci­sion as a re­sult of sav­ings made from in­creased rates of re­cy­cling in Bolton.” Par­ents and staff wel­comed the move. Ber­nadette Gal­lagher, Bolton branch sec­re­tary for Uni­son, said: “This is an ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic vic­tory for all the par­ents, staff and cam­paign­ers who have worked tire­lessly since the an­nounce­ment was made to close Har­vey Nurs­ery. It shows that cam­paign­ing can make a change.” Coun Linda Thomas, deputy coun­cil leader

Har­vey Nurs­ery

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