Dozens of mums are delighted after the city council reversed a decision to close a creche in Herne Bay. The Pier Pavilion Sports Centre will close in September, and facilities including the creche will move to the newly refurbished Herons Leisure Pool. But childcare provision appeared to be left out as mums were told to start taking their children to Kingsmead Leisure Centre in Canterbury instead.
Active Life, which looks after all council-owned leisure facilities in the district, had told members who use the existing day creche at the Pier Pavilion there would be no room at Herons. More than 130 children are registered on the creche’s books and the news had come as a huge disappointment to their mums.
But Denise Rigden, from Tankerton Road, Whitstable took the issue straight to the city council’s deputy head of culture and enterprise David Ford. The 37-year-old was growing concerned about where to take son Max, aged 18 months, after September. She said:
“I made my views known to him directly and explained how valued a service it is and the great job done by all its staff. He was extremely helpful and was prepared to listen to concerns. It’s fantastic news to hear it will be staying put at Herons and a huge relief. I thought my exercise days would be over come September and some members have been in tears at the prospect of having to stop going to their classes.”
David Ford said:
“The provision of new creche facilities were always to form part of the refurbished Herons Leisure Pool. Active Life took the initial decision not to provide a creche service as it was becoming clear that it was very difficult to effectively run it to the same standard as that provided on the Pier. However, mindful of the value customers place on this service, creche provision will remain at Herons as originally planned and Active Life is working with the council on options to make sure a solution is found to ensure the continuation of this service.”
HB Gazette 13th Jul 2011