An award-winnning pre-school in Spalding has been forced to close due to a falling number of children.
Tulip Pre-School, winners of the Pre-School Staff category at the 2015 Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian Education Awards, held its final session just before Christmas.
The pre-school, formerly based at The Vista Hall, near St Mary and St Nicolas Church, opened in 2002 and had 36 children on its roll up to two years ago.
But its provision of term time, sessional childcare, as opposed to the full day learning offered by other nurseries, proved difficult for families where one or both parents work full-time.
Helen Mason, manager of Tulip Pre-School, said: “We closed the doors at the end of term on December 20 after struggling along for the past year.
“In the summer, we pulled out all the stops to go on a little bit further through the autumn.
One of the factors in the decision to close was the low number of children here because of the Government’s push for parents to go out and workHelen Mason, manager of Tulip Pre-School, Spalding
“But we’re a charity and at a meeting of our trustees and parents last November, the decison was made to close the pre-school.
“One of the factors was the low number of children here because of the Government’s push for parents to go out and work.
“As a result of this, parents need full time nursery care where they can drop off their children at 7.30am and pick them up at 6pm.
“But we are only open during school term time to offer sessional care from 9am until 12 noon and from 12 noon till 3pm.”
Tulip Pre-School impressed judges for the 2015 Education Awards with having to set up and put away equipment as The Vista Hall.
But the judges were especially won over by a parent who said the pre-school was “a place where magic happens”.
Tulip Pre-School was set up by parents and ex-Assistant Curate at St Mary and St Nicolas Church, the Rev Rosamund Seal who is now the Vicar of Holbeach.
Mrs Seal said: “We set it up in an extraordinarily short period of time as a charitable pre-school, run by a management committee of parents.
“It became an extremely successful pre-school, offering bursaries and accepting referrals from health centres.
“But the world is a different place now and it’s very sad that Tulip couldn’t offer full-time nursery education for children.”
The Rev John Bennett, Vicar of Spalding, said: “The number of parents wanting to use the pre-school wasn’t enough for it to continue and it’s terrible sad.
“However, it’s a reflection of the way things have changed, with both parents very often working-full time and therefore finding pre-school provision not as helpful as full-time day care.
“In the meantime, we’re exploring all the options to see how The Vista Hall can serve the community better in the future.”