May 22 2013 Latest news:
by Robin Cottle , Reporter
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Parents have told of their dismay at the shock closure of a private Sidcup nursery which has left them stranded without childcare.
Owner of Mapalim Early Years Nursery, Patrick Foster, told them it was shutting with immediate effect last Wednesday when they collected their children.
Emma Giddings, 38, from Sidcup, whose four-year-old son, Lewis, attended the facility, in the North Cray Neighbourhood Centre, Bedens Road, said: “It was a total shock. I’m absolutely gutted. We talked to Patrick at the nursery on Thursday morning and he told everyone we’d just have to make alternative arrangements.”
Ms Giddings is studying for a social care degree and was hoping to go on placements this summer, plans that will now have to be shelved unless she can find alternative childcare.
Neither parents nor Bexley Council, which Mapalim rent the building from, know why the nursery has closed.
Some parents say they have paid in advance and are unsure if they will get their money back.
Fiona Hughes, 37, who sent her three-year-old daughter Olivia to the nursery, said: “The lack of communication from the management leaves a sour taste in the mouth.”
The council held an emergency meeting with parents on Thursday evening, attended by 30 people.
A council spokesman said: “We are very concerned to hear that Mapalim Limited has taken the decision to close the nursery.
“There are spaces available for nursery age children in the borough and parents and carers of the children that attended the nursery should call the council’s family information service for more details.”
Bexley Council and the Times had still not managed to make contact with Mr Foster on Wednesday as the newspaper went to press.
The phone-line for Mapalim headquarters, based in north London, is no longer accepting calls. A man answered the telephone at Chard Wallis legal services company, listed as the correspondence address for the company on Tuesday, but he refused to answer the Times questions. They did not respond to emails.