Suffolk County Council has stepped in to set up childcare cover following the sudden closure of two Jumpin Beans nurseries.
The nurseries at St Edmundsbury Primary School in Grove Road, Bury St Edmunds, and the Millennium Centre in Red Lodge closed without warning on Thursday morning as parents arrived with children.
As the owner Helen Palmer of West Row declined to answer parents’ and staff’s emails and phone calls Suffolk County Council today said it was talking to two other nursery providers to fill the gap.
For Bury St Edmunds, it is working with Little Angels Day Nursery. A county spokesman said; “They should be operational within two weeks in the same building. This will be in addition to their current provision at Sports Direct Fitness, Moreton Hall.
“For Red Lodge,Suffolk County Council is working with St Christopher Robins who will be opening new provision in the Millennium Centre, Red Lodge. This will be in addition to their current provision in Red Lodge.”
Parents have praised nursery and school staff who stepped in to ensure children were not left without cover. Some of the nursery staff were said to have given their time for free, even though Helen Palmer has said they will not be paid the wages they are owed from October and November.
Rebecca Cowley’s daughter attended breakfast and after school clubs at the Bury nursery at the beginning and end of her day at St Edmundsbury Primary, but she was only told at 8.30am that there would be no childcare at 3.20pm.
She said: “Ms Palmer’s actions towards her own staff and the children in her care are reprehensible.
“The staff of St Edmundsbury under the leadership of the head could not be more different. They stepped in immediately to find a short term solution for the children and are currently manning a breakfast club and after school club themselves until a new provider can be found, as a gesture of kindness and goodwill to the affected pupils and parents.”
Kerry Reynolds, who has two children at th Bury nursery, said: “May I express how wonderful the staff at St Edmundsbury Primary School have been with regards to breakfast and after school club, giving up their time for no financial gain.
“I am truly grateful to them, and also Debbie (the JB manager) who is going in to help - voluntarily without pay as she knew the children would be upset.”
A member of the nursery staff said the nursery workers had only been told moments before having to hand out letters to parents arriving on Thursday morning.
Our earlier story on the closure is