Popular Milngavie nursery to close

20/03/12. John Devlin.  MILNGAVIE St Paul's Playgroup, Baldernock Road, picture of staff, parents and children  as the nursery might be closing. Staff  Lorna Laming,'Anne MacAnespie with Mum Kirsty Smith and kids Isla Smith, Alastair Fraser, Katie Dickson, Christopher Johnston, Harry McHale and Kyle Gallagher.

20/03/12. John Devlin. MILNGAVIE St Paul's Playgroup, Baldernock Road, picture of staff, parents and children as the nursery might be closing. Staff Lorna Laming,'Anne MacAnespie with Mum Kirsty Smith and kids Isla Smith, Alastair Fraser, Katie Dickson, Christopher Johnston, Harry McHale and Kyle Gallagher.

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A POPULAR nursery is to close down after 40 years - leaving parents scrambling for alternative childcare.

St Paul’s playgroup and nursery, which is held in the church hall on Baldernock Road, Milngavie, takes two to five-year-olds every week day from 9.30am to midday.

Staff hope to raise enough funds to stay open until June by holding a coffee morning next Saturday but after that their future looks bleak.

The playgroup is unable to meet East Dunbartonshire Council’s new criteria - which includes having a minimum of eight children with council-funded places by the February deadline but they only had seven children on their list.

Under the new rules, the nursery is unable to offer council-funded places to any less than eight children

Funded

This means that the nursery misses out on a large amount of council cash because the parents will need to find a different nursery which can offer their children funded places.

A total of 21 families currently use the playgroup, with about 10 to 15 children attending each day, and it is one of the few facilities in the area to offer morning-only places for children.

The manager, Lorna Laming, who has worked at the nursery for 13 years, said: “It’s very sad but unfortunately there is no way to get round this.

“The council looks at its budget for nursery places in advance and we simply didn’t have the minimum number of funded places to apply for.

“The frustrating thing is that if we’d had more time we would perhaps have had another child applying for a place.

“The morning session often suits parents better as their children can have a nap in the afternoon.

“Losing this service is going to cause many parents a lot of stress and anxiety.”

Salvana Bajrami, of Strathblane Road, Milngavie, sent both her children Marina (4) and Lorenzo (2) to the playgroup so that she could return to work.

She said: “It would be really sad to lose this excellent playgroup.

“Both my children have loved it there and I’ve been very happy with the standard of childcare.

“Many staff members have worked there for years - they have a lot of experience and the children know them.

“I even have friends my age who went there.

“The coffee morning might save us for a while but it’s not going to be a long-term solution.”

Mairi Gillies, East Dunbartonshire education officer, said: “St Paul’s nursery has been in partnership with East Dunbartonshire Council for a considerable length of time.

Support

“During this time the education service has continued to accommodate and support the low number of children who attend St Paul’s nursery. The minimum number of places is only one element of successful partnership status.”

There will be tea/coffee and homebaking at the coffee morning next Saturday in the church hall from 10am to midday. Tickets cost £2 at the door.