Emotions run high at closing pre-school meeting
EMOTIONS were running high at a public meeting last night as parents discussed the impending closure of a Plymstock pre-school.
The meeting saw parents shouting at members of the Plymstock Community Centre Committee as they discussed the future of Playdays Pre-school.
Parents were outraged when they received a letter from Frank Ford, chairman of the Plymstock Community Centre, during half term last month saying the popular and well-used provision, that has been in the community for 37 years, is to close on July 20.
Nearly 50 people attended the meeting, of Playdays staff, parents, and friends to confront the 11 committee members.
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Jennifer Cooper, who had a three-year-old son at Playdays, said: "Playdays is the best thing about this community centre, we received letters about this during half term and then couldn't discuss it with Frank until after he got back from his cruise.
"It wasn't until The Herald got in touch with him that this public meeting was arranged.
"It could have been so easy to keep this pre-school open. You're saying you don't want this pre-school closed but what have you don't to fight for it."
Mr Ford said it was coincidental the letter was distributed just before he went on a holiday he had booked a year prior, and although he cared about the future of the community centre he felt it was his time to step down.
He said: "I wasn't getting a lot of help or guidance my end either. I wasn't aware of how the process worked and I didn't know the system for redundancies."
Tracey Selwood, of Playdays Pre-school, said: "What a kick in the teeth, we could be out on our ear, why should we have to reapply for jobs we have been doing for years.
"Our concern is the children, we could have and we would have walked out when we found out but we're only here so we can see the children out until the end of July."
During the meeting a woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she had applied for the job of manager of the preschool before the deadline of May 1, but did not hear anything back from the committee.
Although parents repeatedly asked what had happened to her application, they did not receive an answer.
The parents also repeatedly asked for an apology for the actions of the committee.
Mr Ford told the meeting: "I do regret that the pre-school is closing, and I am sorry."
The meeting was still in progress as The Herald went to press last night.
Read more on this story in Friday's Herald.