Desperate bid launched to replace of nursery closing down in Purbrook

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A former nursery manager is desperately trying to register a new childcare setting which would replace a nursery that is closing down, in a bid to preserve jobs and childcare places.

Brook-Ann Clarke was the manager at a nursery located in St John’s Church Hall, Purbrook, for the past three years before being told by the owner that it was to be closed down with virtually no notice period. The 22-year-old is now desperately trying to set up a brand new nursery in place of the previous one, which will be closing Friday, March 1. She has been working alongside her friends and co-workers, Charley Kemp and Becky Cole.

She has found someone who is willing to own the new nursery, which will be known as JC Little Explorers LTD, and she has already applied for a new registration with Ofsted to get the setting approved - but she is running out of time. With the former nursery closing at the end of this week, it means that parents could be left without childcare - and Brook, alongside her two colleagues, without jobs.

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Brook Clarke (left) is desperately trying to register a new nursery setting in Purbrook to take the place of a nursery that she managed which is being closed down imminently. She is working alongside her colleagues, Charlie Kemp and Becky ColeBrook Clarke (left) is desperately trying to register a new nursery setting in Purbrook to take the place of a nursery that she managed which is being closed down imminently. She is working alongside her colleagues, Charlie Kemp and Becky Cole
Brook Clarke (left) is desperately trying to register a new nursery setting in Purbrook to take the place of a nursery that she managed which is being closed down imminently. She is working alongside her colleagues, Charlie Kemp and Becky Cole | Brook Clarke

When registering a new setting with Ofsted, it can be up to 12 weeks for the approval to go through - but Brook and her team are desperately hoping they can get the documentation sooner. Brook, who would be the manager, has received support from local MP Alan Mak who has also been in touch with Ofsted to try to get the approval fast-tracked in order to prevent parents without childcare for too long.

She said: "Last Monday, myself and my staff got an email from the owner saying that she was closing the nursery, she gave us just over a week's notice. She put a Facebook post up to all of the parents saying that she would be closing and the parents were not happy at all.

"The trouble is that most of the nurseries in our area are all full so there will be so many children without childcare - we started the registration last week and a lot of the parents have emailed Ofsted to try and help us get it sorted as quickly as possible. We are just trying our best to get the registration sorted."

She said that a lot of parents have said that they would wait until the new setting is open because they want their children to have consistency.

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Alan Mak MP for Havant said: "The owner’s short notice decision has put Brook, her colleagues and the children in a tough position, but I’ve been in touch with Brook with an offer to help and I’ve contacted OFSTED on her behalf to support her re-registration application.”

Brook added: "It has been really difficult - It says that it can take up to 12 weeks but we have sent them lots of emails. Everything happens for a reason and bigger and better things are coming."

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