Brinkworth pre-school saved from closure after five years of financial turmoil Featured

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Published in Malmesbury Newspapers
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A PRE-school in north Wiltshire is focusing on a brighter future after fighting back from the brink of closure, following five consecutive years of financial losses.

The team at Butterflies Pre-School in Brinkworth admitted they have had to “put our hands out for all donations going” since discussing the potential closure at an AGM last September.

In their recent newsletter they admitted that they “feared the end might be nigh” after the AGM, and predicted that they might not even be able to make it through until the end of this school year in July.

The pre-school appealed for a £1,000 grant from the Malmesbury Area Board last week – which it was given, on the basis that it was “struggling to find the money for daily resources” according to the Wiltshire Council report.

It recorded a loss of almost £4,000 in its most recent annual financial records and there were fears it could follow Sherston’s Busy Hands Pre-School which closed last year due to financial instability.

Having made cutbacks and received numerous donations and grants over the past six months however, they have pulled themselves back from the brink.

Pre-school chairman Laura Dossett said: “Expenditure was stripped back, staff hours were reduced and only essentials were purchased.”

She continued to say it was “hard to tell due to the varying numbers of children year on year” whether the pre-schools’ future had been secured, but said enough had been done this year to avoid eating into the school’s reserve funds yet again.

Help also came from Brinkworth Parish Council which donated £500.
Parish council chairman, Elizabeth Threlfall, said the pre-school was having a “tricky time” but have “pulled themselves together”.

Wiltshire Council’s community engagement manager, Ollie Phipps, said Butterflies had been struggling under the pressure of providing child care in a changing climate and said the area board grant was “vital”.

Area board vice-chairman, Cllr Simon Killane, voiced his support for Butterflies, but said the government’s ‘15 free hours’ policy is a “burden” on pre-schools.

The policy means every child aged three to four is entitled to 15 hours of free childcare a week.

The hours are subsidised, but pre-schools complain that the compensation doesn’t cover the costs of each child.

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