End of an era at Sheffield nursery

Parents from Tinsley Green joined Town Hall protests.
Parents from Tinsley Green joined Town Hall protests.

A popular Sheffield nursery has lost its battle for survival and is set to close its doors permanently later this month.

Tinsley Green Nursery was set up 15 years ago as a charity by a parents and children’s consortium.

However, it has been struggling to stay afloat since Sheffield Council reduced the budget for very young children by £3.4 million as a result of Government cuts.

Many other community nurseries across the city have already been forced to close.

Mary Armstrong, project manager, said the loss of Tinsley Green and its 60 places would leave no local provision for two-year-olds and fewer places for those aged three.

She said: “Our parents are unable to pay for places, so the nursery is no longer sustainable.

“We have been living in recent months on our reserves, but that cannot continue.”

Tinsley Green was rated as outstanding by Ofsted on three consecutive inspections and also provided training opportunities for local people.

Parents and staff waged a long campaign against the funding reductions, joining forces with other nurseries in the same position.

The battle included seeking a judicial review of the funding decision on the grounds consultation procedures had been insufficient.

Mary said the nearest provision for two-year-olds involved a journey on two buses for a three-hour slot.

She said: “Feelings have been heated here. We have 16 staff, not as many as we have had in the past, and are all sad we have to close.

A statement by the nursery trustees said they deeply regretted the closure.

It said: “This is a very sad time for everyone connected to what is a charitable organisation, but we are all proud to have created a nursery rated outstanding by Ofsted.

“We would like to thank the local community for their support and loyalty over the years.

“We hope Tinsley Green Nursery will be remembered as having made a difference to many children and families.”