End of an era as Chesterfield’s long-running Sunshine Nursery closes

Staff at the Sunshine Nursery have marked the end of an era. This picture was posted on the nursery's Facebook page.

Staff at the Sunshine Nursery have marked the end of an era. This picture was posted on the nursery's Facebook page.

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A Chesterfield nursery which looked after thousands of youngsters over the last 25 years has closed.

The Sunshine Nursery, which was based at Walton Hospital in Whitecotes Lane, shut yesterday.

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust said the nursery made a loss of £150,000 last year and could not be sustained.

Scores of parents blasted the controversial decision during a public meeting at the hospital in March.

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They said they were worried their youngsters would not receive the same quality of care elsewhere.

A trust spokesman said: “We can confirm that Chesterfield’s Sunshine Nursery has closed.

“We first shared this difficult news with parents back in March to give them as much notice as possible and have offered our support to help them make alternative arrangements for their children.

“We have also successfully redeployed a number of the nursery staff within the organisation, yet regrettably, had to say goodbye to some others.

“As an NHS organisation, our primary focus needs to be on the provision of high-quality community health services for local people; continuing to operate a nursery service would move us away from this aim.

“The nursery has also been operating at a significant financial loss for some time which cannot be sustained in the current economic climate – we must make the most of every pound spent for our patients.

“The team at Sunshine Nursery provided a fantastic service over the years and have seen thousands of babies, toddlers and young children in that time.

“It leaves a legacy to be proud of and the decision to close it was a very difficult one for everyone concerned.”

On the nursery’s Facebook page, a number of parents paid tribute to staff and told of their sadness at the closure.

Lisa Heathcote said: “Thank you all for being so amazing.”

Liz Norton said: “So, so sad to see Sunshine Nursery closed after all those years.”

The trust insists that the closure of Sunshine Nursery has nothing to do with its plans to knock down the disused western wing of Walton Hospital to make way for a new housing development.