Chichester school 'comes to the rescue' of childcare group without a home

Mark Nicholds, Bishop Luffa business manager, Austin Hindman, headteacher, Clare Lawrence and Caroline Amblar, directors of CCs, Jess Thomson, Clare Mead and Sam Smith, play workers. Photo: Kate Shemilt. ks190490-1
Mark Nicholds, Bishop Luffa business manager, Austin Hindman, headteacher, Clare Lawrence and Caroline Amblar, directors of CCs, Jess Thomson, Clare Mead and Sam Smith, play workers. Photo: Kate Shemilt. ks190490-1

A Chichester childcare group has been saved from closure after its lease at a primary school was 'prematurely ended' after five years.

CC’s Out of School Ltd directors Carolyn Ambler and Clare Lawrence, from Chichester, were left 'genuinely heartbroken and astounded' after the group – which provides breakfast and after school clubs – had to move out from Parklands Primary School in July. However, thanks to Bishop Luffa School, the childcare group has a new base where it will be operating from today (Tuesday).

Clare said: "After five incredible and successful years at Parklands School we were regrettably advised in May that West Sussex County Council would be prematurely ending our lease at the end of July 2019. Ongoing building issues and a requirement for more space for the school were the reasons offered for their decision."

Clare said the group, formed in 2014, had been invited by Parklands Primary Community School to operate from within its premises to provide the 'wraparound care' for their children but also for those from neighbouring schools; Jessie Younghusband, Lancastrian, Central, Rumboldswhyke and Kingsham.

When the group was told the lease had ended, Clare said they were in total shock but were committed to honouring its promise to more than 100 families to continue providing 'outstanding care'.

She added: "We are so very proud of CC’s Out of School, in particular the relationships we have with our parents and children and we never underestimate the sense of responsibility we have towards them. We would not ever knowingly let them down. We currently have on average 35 children that attend Breakfast Club every morning and 45 children that attend After School Club every afternoon from the aforementioned schools.

"[We] are known for delivering a safe, fun and caring environment which has become increasingly popular and a first for working families to turn to when needing a secure and unique provision for their children"

Clare and Carolyn decided to contact Bishop Luffa's headteacher Austen Hindman and business manager Mark Nicholds to ask for a meeting about the possibility of moving the provision into Bishop Luffa School.

Clare said: "We both felt that the environment at Bishop Luffa could very well support the ethos of CC’s Out of School. We were overwhelmed by Austen and Mark's positivity, understanding and dedication to helping the community in this difficult situation. We have met with Mark on several occasions over the past few weeks and explored how CC’s Out of School could work in their school.

"We presented our proposal to their board of directors late in July and we have been given the go ahead to move our business there to start in September 2019.

"Bishop Luffa School has come to the rescue of our childcare organisation."