Childcare problem over club closure

Parents fear they could be forced to give up work if an out of school club set to close next week is unable to find alternative accommodation.

The club at Horton Grange Primary School, run by Trinity Youth, was moved to Blyth Academy last year while work was carried out on the school’s roof.

But now the work has been completed, parents have been told the club will not be moving back to its original venue – leading to fears over the future of the facility.

Katy Matheson, whose son attends the club, said: “This is a vital service to many working parents of children in the school.

“This will leave countless parents with the problem of childcare.

“It is disappointing to hear that there is nothing that can be done, and it is such a shame that the school can not be more accommodating to such a great team of childminders.

“I need to work and will not be able to afford a regular childminder that on average will charge double the hourly rate for a service that in my case is needed five days a week.

“I may have to look for other work if I am not able to change hours, which is almost impossible within school hours.

“As a last resort I would have to leave work or change the school for my son to one closer to where I am employed.”

Parent Vicky Shields, whose daughter Ellie attends Horton Grange, said: “There are a lot of worried parents at the moment, some even thinking they might have to give up work.

“I did think that I may have to give up work, fortunately I think I may have a childminder that is available.”

Coun Arckless, policy board member for children’s services at Northumberland County Council, said: “Governors have made the strategic decision that the school would no longer be able to accommodate Trinity Youth to support their before and after school provision.

“Unfortunately Trinity Youth has been unable to find alternative accommodation and has decided to end the provision from Friday, February 14.

“The school is grateful to Trinity Youth for their help over many years and wish them well.”

The school is working to support parents affected by the closure, and provides a breakfast club and after school activities for pupils.

Trinity Youth’s chief executive Bob Poxon added: “Horton Grange Primary School has been very supportive of the out of school club for the last seven years.

“The Blyth Academy has managed to give our club a home, but we will be homeless from April.

“This is sad news and has resulted in our decision to close before February half-term to reduce any financial impact on the charity.

“We are still looking for alternative accommodation and we are hopeful that we will find somewhere quickly.

“This will provide us with a secure future for the club.

“If anyone can offer any help we would certainly appreciate it.”

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