THERE were tears as a nursery that has cared for children for almost seven years closed due to council cutbacks.
Chatham House day care staff held a Christmas lunch for children and parents before shutting for the last time yesterday.
Councillors decided to axe the service along with Bushbabies day care, in Rossmere Way, due to the £195,000 per-year subsidy required to keep them running.
Karen Hall, nursery manager, said: “The day care has closed, with much regret. It’s been a very sad time for staff.
“I just want to say a very big thank you to all the parents for using our services over the years.
“Even though we are a small nursery, we have had hundreds of children through our doors, some of which came as babies and left to go to school. It has been very rewarding to see those journeys and you get to know the families very well.”
Chatham House nursery employed 13 people in full and part-time roles, and Mrs Hall said many have already secured new roles in schools and other nurseries.
There were 20 children on the register as the daycare closed.
Mrs Hall added: “I have managed this place since it was an empty nursery and I have seen it through right to the end.
“I feel very honoured to have held that position and it has been great. It is a lovely nursery and something we can all be proud of.
“It’s the end of an era and we take away a lot of many happy memories with us as we go on to new things.”
Tuesday’s meal saw staff, children and parents come together to say goodbye to the nursery, which opened in March, 2004.
Mrs Hall said: “It was very emotional with the children. As a Sure Start centre, we have given a lot of support and I know a lot of the parents are quite upset that it has come to an end.”
The council has reassured people that the decision to withdraw the childcare facilities will not affect either Rossmere Sure Start Children’s Centre or Chatham House Sure Start Children’s Centre.
Only the day care facilities will cease.