UNION members have announced they will lobby councillors ahead of a meeting to decide whether to close down two council-run nurseries.

Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet will meet tomorrow (Tuesday, January 8) to debate and vote on the future of its Kids and Co nurseries, based at Borough Road Nursery and Northwood Primary School, which were ear-marked for closure late last year.

Parents, staff and members of Unison have campaigned against the proposed closures and say 180 childcare places will be lost for the town, with 43 members of staff at risk of redundancy.

Loading article content

Unison has pledged to lobby members of the cabinet as they arrive for the meeting to urge them to reconsider the plans and consider other options before closing the facilities for good.

In a report prepared for councillors, which recommends closure of both nurseries and a Flexicare service, council officers say that the nurseries are running at a loss of more than £200,000-a-year and that there are enough nursery places at other facilities in the town.

Dawn Taylor, UNISON assistant branch secretary, said: “Kids and Co has been operated by the council since 1994 and has helped hundreds of parents in work and education through its flexible approach to childcare and as a viable alternative to often unaffordable private provision.

“Unison is acutely aware of the drastic situation the council faces as a consequence of the Government’s cuts agenda, but at a time when people are facing true hardship, when they need to be in work or training and need their children looked after, this lifeline service is needed more than ever and to close it would be a step backward for many.”