Business plan bid for nursery

Pomfret neighbourhood nursery, Pontefract
Pomfret neighbourhood nursery, Pontefract

HOPEFUL campaigners have stepped up their bid to save an under-threat neighbourhood nursery in Pontefract.

Mum-of-two Sam Sherburn presented a business plan to Wakefield Council this week which she believes could save Pomfret Neighbourhood Nursery from the axe.

The council earmarked three neighbourhood nurseries – Pomfret, Airedale nursery in Kendal Drive and St Swithun’s in Wakefield – for closure last November.

Cabinet members said they could no longer afford to subsidise the cost of running the nurseries and said Pomfret was running at a lost of £69,000.

Mrs Sherburn, of Ashleigh Avenue, Pontefract, has been working alongside other parents, community leaders and staff at the nursery to write a proposal to transform the Chequerfield facility into a social enterprise.

The 36-year-old said: “It’s got potential, but it just depends on funding. If we can get that we should be all right.

“There’s a lot of support from parents and others in the community but we need to appeal for more help and more funding. We’re hoping to get as much as possible.”

Mrs Sherburn, whose three-year-old son Farris attends the nursery, said concerned parents and residents put the bid together after the council threw them a lifeline to save the nursery from closure.

Interested parties were given until Wednesday February 29 to put forward a viable business plan to take over funding and running the nurseries.

The council confirmed the next step was to refer the proposals to a panel of officers who would make a decision on the future of the nursery.

Elaine McHale, corporate director for family services said: “Any submissions will be assessed and scored against a set of specific criteria.

“Officers will then make recommendations on the future of each of the neighbourhood nurseries to the leader of the council.

“Following this process we will respond to the Pomfret Neighbourhood Nursery group at the earliest opportunity.”