PARENTS held a pram push to protest against the threatened closure of a nursery and raise money for charity.
Twenty-nine mums, dads and children paraded from Wheathouse Road housing estate, Birkby, to Cambridge Road nursery on Saturday. The nursery, which provides child care for working parents, has been threatened with closure by Kirklees council.
The march also raised £350 for the Forget Me Not Trust, which will be building a children’s respite centre and hospice in Brackenhall.
Kirklees council says the nursery, which has received awards and a glowing Ofsted report, is in an isolated location. But the protest walk aimed to prove the nursery is within easy reach and provides a vital service for many families.
Owen Whitehead, whose son, Christian, four, attends the nursery, said: “The council have justified their decision to close Cambridge Road nursery by claiming the nursery is isolated and not in a community.
“We disagree. The new estate, “Hexagon” on Wheathouse Road, Birkby, will have 213 new homes, many of them families.
“Not only that, but the nursery is within short distance of the rest of Birkby and Fartown, both of which are heavily populated by the groups of people who need this kind of facility.”
Mr Whitehead, from Birkby, added: “The council also excuse their decision by stating that the nursery is not in a SureStart area – but they fail to recognise that it is within a Neighbourhood Renewal area, which puts it within the top 10% most deprived areas in Europe. If that’s not a suitable area, where is?”
“The council are absolutely refusing to discuss anything with us.”
Mum Debi Johnson, 38, from Huddersfield town centre, has a two-year-old son, Ramiro, who attends Cambridge Street.
She said: “The nursery means everything to me. It’s quality, affordable child care. The staff at Cambridge Street make the child feel at home. The Ofsted reports speak for themselves.
“It seems to be what suits Kirklees counci,l but it should be about what’s best for our children.”
Fund-raising manager Mandy Barwick said: “We never cease to be amazed by the support shown by our local community.
“I am touched by the monies raised by parents and children for, after all, there are many families living within Kirklees caring for young children who would greatly benefit from the prov-ision of a local children’s hospice and respite centre and simply cannot partake in an event such as this.
“Every penny raised takes us yet another step closer to achieving our goal and our thanks go out to everyone involved.”