There is ‘imminent danger’ of a charity-run preschool in Wistow closing unless it can raise £10,000 to help keep it afloat.
Smart Start Wistow Community Preschool needs to raise the money after a turbulent two years following Covid-19 restrictions, and because 12 children left to attend primary school in September.
Manager Chloe MacGregor, said there are currently 10 children on their books, but before the pandemic, they could see up to 30 children registered and as many as 20 children in the preschool on any given afternoon. Chloe said: “We lost 12 children to Wistow Primary School which means our numbers are a little low. “And due to the current financial situation - bills and the rising cost of everything - the government funding doesn’t cover the costs that we have. “So we’ve set up a fundraising page. There is imminent danger that we could close if we don’t raise the money. The children would have to find new nurseries, myself and the staff would have to find new jobs. “We’re trying to raise £10,000 and we need another ten children to join the setting. The preschool provided vital support to the public by staying open during the pandemic, but unfortunately this has resulted in a loss.” Staff started the fundraising campaign four weeks ago, which has already raised £7,840. A parent of a former attendee, whose child was helped by staff at the preschool, has donated £1,000.
Chloe added: “One of our previous parents donated £1,000. His child was non-verbal and now he is speaking and is toilet trained, and the parent said what we had done for them was priceless. “The amount raised so far is amazing, and it’s thanks to our parents and the community pushing for us to stay open.” The preschool was established in 1989 and caters for children aged two to four years. Chloe said: “Early years is the foundation of a child's development and paves the way for a child's future. What we do in the setting has a huge impact on a child's life and we don't just come to work to go to work, we go to preschool to change children's lives. “Some children have learning plans and just need a bit of extra support, these children would find it hard to settle in to a new nursery. “Parents have said they love the ethos of the preschool and they don’t want to go anywhere else and would be upset if the staff had to find new jobs. “We have families and mortgages but our main concern is the children having to find a new nursery and losing friends, it can be quite upsetting for them.”
One parent, Cathy, said attending the preschool had made an ‘incredible difference’ to her daughter. She said: “Her confidence, independence and sense of self-worth have all massively increased, and all because of Smart Start. As soon as we get home she asks when she can go back to preschool. She just loves it. It is a truly wonderful childcare setting and I would have no hesitation in recommending Smart Start to all parents of preschool aged children." Another parent added: “My son has a diagnosis of autism. The staff at Wistow Smart Start have been simply amazing in their support for him and their feedback to North Yorkshire Council has helped with his education plan. The time he has spent at Wistow has been so beneficial in his transition to main school in September. Every time I picked him up I could see the excitement as he tried to tell me what he had been doing at Smart Start and after school club.”
From January, the preschool will be charging fees of £30 a day, from 9.15am to 3.15pm. Contact Chloe on 01757 242 576.
To donate, visit: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/smart-start-wistow-community-pre-school-1022916
Deputy manager Fiona Fligg reads a story to some of the children. (08-12-04 SU)