Local MP Luke Hall backed parents, pre-school teachers and Thornbury’s Crossways Pre-school building committee last week as the project to see new childcare capacity in the town seemed in doubt after an unexpected funding gap was found threatening its completion.
First Steps pre-school which currently operates in a portable cabin at Crossways Infants, as well as on another site in nearby Christ the King Primary, has at present catered for around 20 children per session, however the committee hopes that the new building will double the capacity it is able to offer to the Thornbury Community.
The Pre-school building committee, parents and pre-school teachers have waged a steady fundraising campaign over recent years to improve early year’s provision in the town- including Thornbury fun trail.
A £225,000 grant from Government kicked off the scheme which has seen construction of the new site begin but the project has proven to be more expensive than what was originally costed.
After hearing about the situation, Local MP Luke Hall has intervened by securing an urgent meeting last week with South Gloucestershire Council leader Matthew Riddle and the Councils Cabinet Member for Education, Councillor Toby Savage, the pre-school building committee, and stakeholders to see what help and assistance the Conservative run council could offer.
After a broad range of discussions on the barriers to completing the project, the meeting concluded with a positive atmosphere and with the council’s leadership saying they would go away and task the Councils education and finances department to see what practical help could be offered.
Local MP Luke Hall said; “With the introduction of the Governments 30 hours of free childcare for working parents on the horizon, I was concerned to hear of the Pre-schools situation. After discussing the issue with Matthew and Toby, I was delighted when they agreed to meet with the committee to understand the barriers to completing this important project for the community.”
Councillor Toby Savage said; “It was great to be able to meet with the pre-school leaders to see and hear first-hand the fantastic work they are doing locally and how they want to expand to do even more in the town. They have encountered some bumps along the way and, as a council, we are looking urgently at what assistance we could potentially offer to smooth the way forward and complete this important scheme.”
First steps pre-school spokesperson added;
A follow up meeting checking the progress of the actions agreed at the meeting is due to take place Friday the 18th of August.