STAFF and parents of children at a Sidcup nursery rescued from the brink of closure last year have been left devastated by a sudden buy out.

A team of staff headed by Natasha Lyons have worked wonders since saving the day nursery, in North Cray Community Centre, Bedens Road, after it unexpectedly shut in June last year.

But on Thursday (May 27) parents were told Noah’s Ark Day Nursery is being bought out by a new provider.

'Not putting our children first'

Lisa Coward, 33, whose four-year-old daughter Lexi is one of around 80 children who attend the nursery, said: “Bexley Council are not putting our children first.

"It’s not acceptable really “The staff are very upset and it’s going to be distressing for our children.”

Mrs Lyons, the nursery’s director and temporary manager was tasked with rescuing the centre by Bexley Council.

She said: “At that stage we not only took on an extremely run down, dirty and ill equipped nursery but worked exceptionally hard with parents, carers and staff to reassure them and regain their confidence in believing that they would be leaving their children in a safe caring environment with well trained staff.

“We were absolutely shocked and devastated by not being successful in our tender.”

Ofsted awarded the former Mapalim Day Nursery a ‘good’ inspection, commending the 17 staff members’ “enthusiasm and drive for excellence” and would have been ‘outstanding’ if had it not been for the garden, where the work was only just underway.

'Thoughtless decision'

Deputy manager Lucy Williams told News Shopper: “The council’s thoughtless decision has corrupted a perfectly happy and stimulating environment for the children and working environment for all staff.

“We were all in an awful situation this time last year and the council may as well be putting the nursery back in that situation again now. “

Sophie Juby, 31, whose two-year-old son Harry and a 13-month-old daughter Evie both go to the centre said: “The staff have completely turned the nursery around.

“The staff are so friendly and they really have a good rapport with all the children.”

Mother-of-one Helen Warren, 35, is worried about the affect it will have on her two-year-old son Harvie, who was born 26 weeks premature and has special needs.

She said: “The nursery have been fantastic and incredibly flexible.

“He has spent a lot of time in hospital and struggles in new surroundings.”

A Bexley Council spokeswoman said the nursery’s owners were told the lease would be advertised when they took over in July, and Family Tree Day Nursery, ran by Chatterbox Nurseries and Falconwood Pre-School, was deemed to be the best overall proposal.

She said: “As a public authority the council has to be open and transparent and invite offers from a number of providers.

“The council is now keen to work with all parties to achieve a seamless handover of the nursery between the providers, probably from early September, for the benefit of the children, parents and staff alike.”