Angry parents are still trying to find out why two nurseries closed without notice on Thursday morning.
Parents and children arrived at the Jumpin Beans nursery in Grove Road, Bury St Edmunds, and its sister nursery in Red Lodge to be handed letters by staff saying that it was closed due to ‘issues’ between them and Suffolk County Council.
A member of the 14 nursery staff said today (Friday) that even the staff had not known the nurseries were closing until Thursday morning and that they are owed five weeks pay.
Parent Jessica Whiles, from Bury, said: “They’ve given nobody any warning – I’ve got no child care and it’s going to have an adverse affect on their learning. The children are all upset. My daughter is two-and-a-half and she was looking forward to going in.
“Even yesterday they didn’t give us any inkling of what was going to happen.”
She said her daughter, Maisie-Louise, did not understand why she could not ‘go to school’.
Tasmin Smith said her three-year old son Larz had also been upset by the sudden closure of the Bury nursery.
“He was quite upset when I told him he wasn’t going to be with his friends,” she said.
“We went on Tuesday and nothing was said – we now haven’t got a school to send him to.”
She added that when she called the council about it she was told they had only just found out.
Jen Ward received an email at work telling her of the closure.
She said: “The staff happily took £134 in cash from me last night paying for child care for the month and now they wont be providing.
“I don’t have the money to pay anyone else, am a single mother and work full time – fuming does not even come close. I have phoned and emailed them querying a refund yet they have said nothing.
“I am at a loss as to how they can do this and who decided no notice was the best way to go.”
The Red lodge Village Twitter feed said parents there had arrived to find it closed and added: “Many shocked parents wanting answers.”
Other parents have complained that they have only been informed of the closure by other parents, seeing it on the Bury Free Press website or social media feeds or in an email from St Edmundsbury Primary School, whose premises the independent business uses. Some parents expressed concern about getting their child’s educational work record.
The Bury Free Press called the mobile phone number given on the Jumpin Beans website and has emailed them, but had no reply. On Friday morning, the phone number was not accepting calls.
Companies House lists the director of Jumpin Beans as Helen Palmer of West Row.
But a member of staff, who wanted to be anonymous because she is now job hunting, called to say how angry staff were at being let down and letting parents down.
She said staff had had a meeting with Mrs Palmer and the company accountants that morning. She said: “We were told that from today we are redundant and we won’t get paid. Today was pay day. She was very unhelpful.
“We’ve got single mums – how are they going to manage.”
She said Mrs Palmer had had a Suffolk County Council grant to run a nursery on Bury’s Howard Estate for five years but closed it earlier this year after two years.
“The council, quite rightly, wanted it’s money back and she was saying she can’t afford it,” she said.
A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “We understand from the business owner, that they have decided to close both the Jumpin Beans Day Nursery based at the Millenium Centre at Red Lodge, and the Jumpin Beans Pre-school based on Grove Road in Bury St Edmunds.
“Suffolk County Council is now working closely with the parents of all the children who have been attending these childcare providers to help them find suitable childcare elsewhere.
“Parents who need assistance finding alternative childcare should call the Suffolk Family Information Service helpline on 0345 60 800 33 or they can search for childcare online at www.suffolk.gov.uk/fsd”
The county is understood to be looking into the legal situation and what it can do to help. It is hoping to be able to clarify the situation early next week.
Were you affected as a parent or staff? Please let us know.