Express & Star

Nursery at firm HQ to close after 17 years but some parents 'disheartened' by 'abrupt decision'

The nursery that operates at South Staffordshire Water's headquarters in Walsall is to close on June 14.

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The Busy Bees nursery at South Staffs Water

The company says the nursery in several rooms at its offices in Green Lane, Leamore, is currently only used by a small number of employees.

Jessica Sandall, area director of Burntwood-based Busy Bees which runs the nursery, has written to all affected staff about the decision to no longer continue with a partnership that has been running for 17 years.

South Staffs Water says the majority of places at the nursery are being filled by non-South Staffs group families.

The company is funding the nursery in its totality, which is described as a large cost.

It has tried to resolve this with Busy Bees, in a fair and proactive way, but both sides accept there is no solution.

In the letter Ms Sandall says: "We understand that this will be disappointing and come as unwelcome news for you all. Having made the decision we are giving you as much notice as possible and will help you make alternative arrangements for your childcare."

Busy Bees has a number of centres in the surrounding area including at Burntwood, Dudley, Lichfield and Sutton Coldfield.

No registration fee will be requested for South Staffs employees moving their children to one of them.

"We understand that a change of nursery can be unsettling for children and therefore the staff will ensure that the children’s learning journeys are fully complete to share with any new settings. All current staff and equipment will remain in place and the nursery will be fully operational until the closure date.

"I apologise for the upset and disruption that this will cause, and I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you for your past support of our nursery and its staff and look forward to extending our care to your family at another of our nurseries," added Ms Sandall.

Charley Maher, South Staffordshire Plc’s chief executive said: “We’d like to thank the Busy Bees team for their years of support to our employees’ families, particularly in times when the facilities were once well used across our group. We wish them all the best for the future.””

The nursery is currently only used by nine group employees.

The group said it had explored a range of alternative option and is offering its support in transitioning to a new offering.

A South Staffs Water employee, who did not wish to be named, said: "This abrupt decision leaves parents with just four weeks to secure alternative childcare arrangements, particularly challenging given the recent implementation of funded hours in April.

"It is deeply disappointing to witness such actions from an organisation that claims to prioritise community welfare. Contrary to their assertion that only a few parents from the business utilise this service, many have relied on it, especially considering that a significant portion of their workforce comprises former South Staffordshire employees. This decision not only impacts the parents but also puts numerous staff members out of work.

"The repercussions extend beyond mere inconvenience; there will be a tangible emotional toll on the children who have grown accustomed to the nurturing environment of the nursery. Such a decision is especially disheartening in the current economic climate, where job security is already precarious for many."