Nursery to close if alternative site is now found soon

Portsmouth & Southsea railway station by Andy Cooper

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A NURSERY will face closure unless permanent premises are found.

Pre-school and nursery firm Gateway are fighting to remain at a hall in the Salvation Army building, in Forton, Gosport.

Their rent for the hall runs out next month and will not be renewed in the new year.

Nursery staff in Forton and trustees of Gateway Nurseries and Pre-Schools have written to the Salvation Army, based at The Crossways, to let them stay after alternative sites for the nursery have not been found.

Catriona Nason, a trustee of the nursery group, based in Titchfield Park, Fareham, wrote to the Salvation Army on behalf of the Forton group.

She said: ‘Due to the request by the Salvation Army that we should vacate the premises at the end of December, we have battled hard to find an alternative for our children from January onwards.

‘But we have come to a dead end.

‘Our families are very concerned and we believe the service should be continued.

‘In fact, we believe it should be expanded to meet the ongoing needs of local families.’

She added: ‘Our nursery in Forton was oversubscribed and reached a great number of families in the area.

‘The Forton manager and her team are highly experienced practitioners and have developed a high reputation within the community as well as the respect of external agencies and social work teams.

‘They devote a great deal of personal unpaid time to Gateway to provide the best possible start in life for disadvantaged and vulnerable children.’

The nursery asked for an extension to rent the hall in March.

But were told in April their extension would only last until December.

In the letter by the Salvation Army it said: ‘There will be no further options for extension after the end of 2014, as we need the building to develop our own mission and ministry.’

The Forton nursery is part of a string of other groups headed by Gateway called Trinity Gateway Community Services who have a Christian ethos.

They specifically provide high quality, affordable childcare for Gosport’s families, especially in areas of high deprivation to build a better future for the child.

Other nurseries are located in Portchester and Fareham.

A Salvation Army spokesperson said: ‘We need to use our building for our work with people in the community.

‘We realise that people need to make plans and so decided to give the pre-school who rent our premises many months’ notice when we are actually only required to give one month.

‘We gave them this notice so far in advance to help ensure they would be able to find alternative premises.

‘We hope that the pre-school will be able to find another location and urge anyone who is able to provide a suitable building that they could use to get in touch.’