Wargrave Pre-School faces funding losses

The school has been struggling funding-wise this year. Picture: Wargrave Pre-School

WARGRAVE Pre-School is facing an uncertain future due to £19,000 worth of losses, warns its committee.

The registered charity cancelled its usual fundraising activities this year due to the pandemic. And staff say they need to act now to ensure a future for local youngsters.

With an annual shortfall of £10,000, the pre-school has applied to Wargrave Parish Council for a grant of the same value.

But more is needed to keep the community-run service afloat.

Committee member Layla Pipe said the £19,000 losses were caused by a reduced capacity over summer, with less fee-paying youngsters in attendance.

“We’re now back at full capacity, and the children are loving it,” she said. “We have a long waiting list, as there is no nursery or childminder in Wargrave.”

As the only childcare service for miles, the pre-school offers places to Sonning and Crazies Hill families as well.

“It’s such an important service in the village,” Ms Pipe added. “We even have a nine-month-old on the waiting list to join when they turn two.”

The pre-school, which has 25 children and seven staff, meets in a building near the village recreation ground, hired from the parish council.

“Lots more families moved to the areas following lockdown,” Ms Pipe said. “And lots of pre-schools have closed within recent months too. The competition for places is definitely increasing.”

The four committee members are now drawing up plans to tackle the annual shortfall, as well as the covid-losses.

“We’ve got two plans really. To create a long-term solution to the annual problem, we’re looking into grants and funding options. We don’t want that to hang over us each year.

“And then we want to do some fundraising to improve our outside space.”

The committee hopes to refurbish the garden and fences — if they can find the funds.

This month, pre-school parent Emily Day is taking 12,000 steps each day to raise money for the centre.

“She’s raised £600 so far, and is walking in all weather,” Ms Pipe said.

They also have a donations page on CAF Bank.

Ward councillor John Halsall said: “Wargrave Pre-school is an absolutely marvellous little pre-school.

“I’m trying to help them.”

To donate, visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/emily-childs-1

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