5:40pm Sunday 20th May 2012
By Fran Bardsley
EIGHTEEN months ago a village pre-school was left devastated after staff and parents were told they would no longer be getting a £300,000 new home.
Cumnor Pre-school was one of 14 schemes which was cancelled in September 2010 after Oxfordshire County Council’s £14m funding pot for children’s centres and pre-school improvements was cut by £2.75m.
But now they have set their sights on raising £100,000 themselves for a more modest, temporary building.
Mum-of-two and chairman of the management committee Lisa Hankin said: “We had plans drawn up and our feasibility had been sent off, and the supervisor had started packing everything away.
“We even had a party for the children to say goodbye to the old building and had organised to move into primary schools rooms while the building work was done.
“Then in July 2010 it was put on hold, then it was taken away.”
The building in which the pre-school is currently based has a shelf-life of 15 to 20 years, but has already been in use for 22 years.
While it is safe and meets regulations, the roof leaks, the windows are not double glazed and it is coming to the end of its lifespan. It has taken until now for organisers to become confident about going ahead with fundraising for a new building.
Mrs Hankin said: “The £300,000 was going to be for a state of the art eco-build permanent building. We are not going to be able to raise that kind of money. What we are looking at is replacing what we have got for another temporary building.”
She said morale dropped when the grant was cut.
Mrs Hankin said: “They had all got in mind they were going to have this new, amazing building and everyone was excited.
“It’s taken since then to be able to convince them we have to be realistic and start thinking first of all about keeping up what we’ve got and saving for a new replacement.”
Staff are in the process of applying for grants and fundraising events are planned.
They include a village summer party and promises auction on Friday, June 29, at Cumnor Parish Hall, with tickets going on sale via the nursery on 01865 864614. People can also text donations to 70070, by texting CSPN12 £ followed by the amount to donate.
Mrs Hankin, whose three-year-old son Jamie attends the pre-school and daughter Isabella also went there, said: “We are a really good set-up and it would be a real shame if the pre-school had to move, or worse, to close.”
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