Budleigh’s Carousel Childcare faces closure threat

Sarka Andersonova (left) of Carousel Childcare in Budleigh with some of the children. Ref exb 20-16T

Sarka Andersonova (left) of Carousel Childcare in Budleigh with some of the children. Ref exb 20-16TI 1155. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A Budleigh Salterton childcare service faces a race against time to find a new home - after it was announced its current lease would not be extended.

Carousel Childcare, based at St Peter’s Primary School, Moor Lane, faces being kicked out of its current premises when the lease ends in December.

The school has opted to not renew the lease, saying it needs extra space to cope with the demand for places at St Peter’s.

School headteacher Steve Hitchcock, in a newsletter to parents, said: “The school has not renewed this lease due to the growing pupil numbers and need for additional space to cater for their needs.

“I have to prioritise the needs of the school, which I am sure you will appreciate - we are desperate for more classroom space.

“Carousel will carry on providing a service and will let parents know of developments.

“If they can’t carry on, the school will find a solution to meet the wrap-around care needs of parents.

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“That is something we have to do.”

Nursery director Sarka Andersonova has started the search for a new home in Budleigh for Carousel, but it may have to move to Exmouth if one is not found.

She believes the town needs to act quickly to save the nursery.

“If this service is taken away, it will have such a negative impact on children,” said Ms Andersonova.

“It will also have an impact on the children’s ability to integrate from nursery into primary school.

“We’re running out of time - Budleigh cannot turn its eyes away from this.”

Ms Andersonova added that the nursery remained open for business and she remained confident of securing premises in Budleigh.

Parents have expressed their anger at the idea of Carousel moving to Exmouth.

Mother Natasha Hicks said: “They (Carousel) are very important; they’re helping my son.

“Since starting here, he is coming up with more words and is more confident.”

Another parent, who preferred not to be named, said: “I have girls in St Peter’s School and a one-year-old at Carousel, so a move to Exmouth would be a massive impact.

“It’s a vital service. There are lots of us who use Carousel, and lots of us that would have to find alternative arrangements.”

Lydia Harrison, whose daughter Layla attends Carousel, said: “I am devastated. It’s convenient for me because I only live up the road.

“It is very flexible at Carousel – I don’t know what we would do without them.

“For me, any move to Exmouth would be a problem.”