Parents and staff have been celebrating this week after Melton’s Oasis Pre-School was saved from closure.
It has been an anxious time for everyone since May when Mowbray Education Trust, which manages the scheme, said it was no longer viable due to funding issues and a shortage of children attending.
That prompted families to raise a petition in a campaign to save the Asfordby Road pre-school, which is based in the grounds of The Grove Primary School, and it sparked crisis talks with local councillors and officials in a bid to save it.
And on Tuesday afternoon, the trust announced the scheme would continue, thanks to a new partnership with Leicestershire County Council.
A delighted centre manager, Victoria Conyers, told the Melton Times: “I’m just thrilled. It’s been an emotional journey.
“A lot of time, effort and love has been put into making this such a lovely environment for the children.
“I want to thank our parents and the local community for their fantastic support over the past few weeks.”
Parents attending yesterday morning’s (Wednesday’s) session were in jubilant mood.
Georgia Batsford said: “I am so relieved to be honest.
“My children have loved coming here, and I have a little one starting in September.”
Leanne Bredesen, whose three-year-old twins attend the pre-school, said: “It was brilliant news to hear it has been saved - I’m really, really happy about it.
“It’s been stressful because none of us knew if we would be able to bring our children back here in September, but now we can.”
Rachel Branston, one of the parents who campaigned to save Oasis, said: “I couldn’t be happier, all my hard work has paid off.
“Oasis is outstanding with a reliable long-standing team and we know they have the children’s and families best interests at heart.”
Vanessa Jackson said: “It’s been such a worry for the parents and I can’t imagine how the staff have been feeling, especially with it being left to the 11th hour. But the support from parents and local residents has been great, and overwhelmingly in favour of keeping it open.”
The trust board has given an assurance on the future of Oasis for the next academic year, to give time for the new partnership to bed in.
The link-up will see extra funding for improvements to the building and additional staff training, to enhance the service to families.
This will enable Oasis to offer a number of funded places for local children with additional needs who would otherwise have to travel to specialist settings across the county.
Christine Stansfield, CEO of the trust, said: “We are delighted that we’ve been able to keep Oasis open, and we look forward to an exciting future, working in partnership with Leicestershire County Council and supporting even more local children.
“I want to personally thank and pay tribute to the outstanding staff at Oasis who have worked so hard through this difficult time.
“We would also like to thank Melton Borough Council councillors and officers for their constructive support and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them in the future.”
Oasis is taking new bookings for places from September and will continue to offer up to 30 hours of free childcare a week for children aged two to four.