Petition bid to save Hartlepool nursery from closure

Katie Richardson (standing centre) with her daughter Evie and fellow Footprints nursery users and children outside of the nursery. Picture by FRANK REID
Katie Richardson (standing centre) with her daughter Evie and fellow Footprints nursery users and children outside of the nursery. Picture by FRANK REID

A mum has launched a petition in a bid to save her child’s nursery which has been given a month’s notice to leave their premises.

Footprints private nursery at Rift House Childrens Centre, in Masefield Road, Hartlepool, has been given 28 days’ notice by Hartlepool Borough Council.

It is because Rift House Primary School is looking to expand its nursery provision into an integrated service to include two-year-old childcare from the Children’s Centre from September.

Mum Katie Richardson, whose daughter Evie-Ann, aged two, attends Footprints has begun an online petition to keep Footprints at Rift House open and is appealing for support.

Evie suffers from Hypothyroidism and has been left brain damaged.

“Evie has her own problems and the nursery staff have been really, really good with her,” said Katie, 23.

“Evie has a really strong bond with her key worker Gemma Frankland and finds it difficult to form new relationships.

“A lot of the mams are really upset too. The jobs of the girls who work there are on the line.

“We’ll be so sad to see it go.”

Katie says that she and other parents are concerned that a change could affect their children’s development.

“Evie’s key worker since she started going to the nursery has been nothing but brilliant,” added Katie, of Kipling Road.

“With her having problems with falling over, the staff never let her out of their sight.

“She’s come on a lot since she’s gone there and we want it to stay the same.”

The Save Our Rift House Footprints petition on the website change.org has been signed by about 300 supporters so far.

It says parents and carers are all “deeply saddened” at the termination of their tenancy which it adds came out of the blue.

Katie and the other parents also thanked nursery manager Vivienne Dempsey and all the staff and key workers for their work with all the children over the years.

Hartlepool council has said that Footprints helped to meet a need for childcare for two-year-olds in the area after a shortfall of places back in 2013.

Following Rift House Primary School’s recent devastating fire, it is working with the council to provide an integrated nursery service from the Children’s Centre from September.

Up to now the school has offered nursery provision for three and four year olds.

Footprints also runs another site in Tees Street, in Hartlepool town centre.