Staff carry on unpaid as Acorn Kindergarten closes

PUBLISHED: 12:13 01 November 2013 | UPDATED: 12:14 01 November 2013

Acorn Kindergarten

Acorn Kindergarten

Archant

The owners of a Brixington nursery school are closing it down with just a week’s notice – leaving parents scrambling to find alternative childcare.

Staff at Acorn Kindergarten in Spiders Lane were told only last Friday that the business, which has around 120 children on its roll, would be shutting today (Friday).

Manager Karen Brammer, who along with the other staff is employed by owners Butterstone Limited, said staff were ‘devastated’ at the news.

She said: “We’ve been told there isn’t enough money, and the company which owns the nursery is going into liquidation. We’re absolutely devastated.”

Incredibly, despite not being paid and facing the loss of their jobs, Karen says Acorn’s 18 staff have continued to work this week in order to give children and families more time to make alternative arrangements.

“We were told we were going to end on Friday [October 25], but the liquidators have given us an extra week to finish off and give parents a chance to find other childcare.

“We all said we will come into work this week, so 18 staff are going to work having not been paid.

“We are a very strong team and I think that’s shown itself. We are in the care industry, and that means we care, so the staff do what they need to do.

“They’ve got their own things to worry about now like mortgages and their own children, which they are putting on the back burner and will work out next week.”

Karen, who has worked at Acorn Kindergarten for more than 20 years, said she felt the children’s parents appreciated the efforts staff were going to.

“I think had [parents] just turned up to a sign on the gate on Monday they would have been even more devastated, but they are just grateful we are still there for the week to finish off and do the things we have to do.”

Karen said Acorn’s staff had been referring parents to other local nurseries, and also suggested they contact Devon County Council for advice.

Those dropping their children off at Acorn this week were full of praise for the efforts of its staff.

Karen Chamberlain, of Marcom Close, whose son attends Acorn, said: “I’ve got nothing but the utmost respect for the ladies who work here for the way they have handled it.

“They’ve come in this week knowing they haven’t got a job, just so we have got childcare, which I think has been amazing, and I feel so sorry for them.”

Martine Adams, of Littleham Road, whose grandson George is the third of her grandchildren to attend Acorn, said: “This place has been fantastic for them all, and all the women here and the girls are first class. You couldn’t ask for anything better.

“It’s a disgrace what the owners have done. It is just abysmal. Thank god Karen last week fought to keep it open this week for all the mothers with children on half term.

“Now all the mums have to try and get their children into another nursery.”

The Journal contacted Butterstone Limited owner Mansoor Rahaman for comment, but he said we should direct our enquiries back to Ms Brammer.

The county council says details of other childcare providers in the area are available on its website at www.devon.gov.uk.


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