Hundreds sign petition to save Uckfield nursery

More than 350 people have signed a petition to save a nursery in Uckfield.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 10:28 am
The entrance to Holy Cross School in Uckfield. Photo by Google Streetview

According to the petition, JHM nursery – which is based at Holy Cross School – could close in August.

This would mean the loss of more than 60 childcare places for children aged two to four, as well as wrap-around care for children with parents working long hours.

One mother-of-three, whose child attends the nursery, said there was a lack of other options for childcare in the area.

“Everyone is panicking and trying to find new places,” she said. “If I don’t find childcare I have to give up my job.

“A lot of parents are in the same boat, they’re struggling to find somewhere.”

She said JHM nursery was ‘absolutely amazing’. “They’re so flexible for parents,” she said.

An East Sussex County Council spokesperson said the decision not to renew the lease on the premises used by the JHM Nursery was made by Holy Cross school.

The school said it had put forward a proposal to JHM which would secure nursery places from September.

A spokesman for the school governing body said the nursery had notified the school, on April 23rd, of the owner’s intention to retire at the end of August and asked if the school would be interested in running the nursery thereafter.

“A ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response was required by May 1st which allowed only five working days,” a spokesman said.

“Their insistence that their proposal be kept strictly confidential was respected.

“As the governors recognise the value of nursery provision for the school and the local community, advice was immediately sought.

“It quickly became clear that in order to establish the nursery as part of the school in September 2021, the process would need to have been started at the beginning of this academic year or in January at the very latest.

“We have now put a proposal to JHM which we hope will secure nursery places from September onwards.

“This proposal is a private matter between JHM Nursery, and the Governors of Holy Cross CE School and we are looking forward to discussing it with them.”

JHM nursery declined to comment.

The council said it realised the potential closure of the nursery ‘may be difficult for some families’.

“We will work with early years providers across all sectors in Uckfield to ensure, where reasonably practicable, that there are sufficient nursery places in the area, as we do across the rest of the county,” a spokesman said.

“Families can access childcare support and advice from the council’s Family Information Service, including information on the alternative options available such as childminders and preschools.”