Mothers fight to save Bow nursery from council cuts
PUBLISHED: 16:59 14 October 2014 | UPDATED: 11:04 15 October 2014
Mothers are fighting to save a nursery they say is like a second home to their vulnerable children.
Queen Mary Day Nursery in Tidey Street, Bow, is one of four set to close in a £100million savings drive the council says is needed due to government cuts.
But parents, many of their children with long-term health conditions, fear the disruption to their children’s lives and having to find private sector care, and have launched a campaign to save the nurseries.
They started a petition and will protest on Thursday night at Bethnal Green station before a public meeting in St Margarets House in Old Ford Street.
The mothers also received support from the Focus E15 women fighting an attempt be “rehoused” out of London.
At a protest on Tuesday, Dionne Cayley from Bow said nursery staff helped her son Aiden, 2, learn to speak after his cleft palate surgery.
“They gave my son his voice for the first time in his life,” she said. “They’ve got love for each and every child.”
Dionne and Alicja Topij requested a meeting with Mayor Lutfur Rahman but say they were fobbed off.
“I voted for Lutfur Rahman because he promised to protect us in Tower Hamlets, not to privatise,” said Dionne.
“I would never vote for him again. He should be here with us fighting, not hiding in his office.”
Emma Adams, whose two-year-old asthmatic son uses the nursery, said: “I’ve worked in private nurseries and it’s all about making money, whereas here they get the love they would get at home.”
Wafa Ali said her daughter Retaaj, 3, has cerebral palsy, and nursery staff taught her to use a spoon to eat.
She added: “It’s troubling me so much. I don’t have another nursery to go to.”
Other parents said the nursery has allowed them to take courses or work during the day.
“It’s not a savings exercise, it’s a privatisation exercise,” said Alicja.
“They spend their money on PR rather than services for vulnerable people in the community.”
Nursery staff said they were not allowed to talk to the press without council permission.
John Mcloughlin, Unison branch secretary in Tower Hamlets, said: “If you’re going to be a leader of a local authority in a deprived borough like ours, cheek to jowel with fantastic wealth, then you have to decide are you going to stand with the people you represent or are you going to implement the policy of a government which doesn’t care about vulnerable people like these.”
A council spokesman said: “Unprecedented government cuts are forcing us to make hard choices about how we continue to deliver services to residents.
“We are looking at new delivery models and new ways of involving local people.”
The consultation on the plans ends on Sunday.
For more visit towerhamlets.gov.uk/YourBorough