Mothers whose children attend the Leichhardt-One Mile Community Centre Child Care Centre are outraged that it is being closed at short notice.
Mothers whose children attend the Leichhardt-One Mile Community Centre Child Care Centre are outraged that it is being closed at short notice. Claudia Baxter

Shock as child centre closes

PARENTS have been left angry, confused and in tears after being told their much-loved childcare centre will suddenly close.

The parents said they were given little warning the Leichhardt-One Mile Community Child Care Centre would close on Thursday.

They were sent a letter from the community centre management. The childcare centre is in the community centre, but is run by a separate committee.

When they were contacted by the QT, staff said they were told not to say anything.

The community centre president Merv Neumann didn't want to talk about the reasons behind the childcare centre's closure. Crying as she spoke, Sharon Marsh said parents should have been told why the childcare centre had to close.

She said 40 children went to the centre, including 22 regulars.

"They might have perfectly good reasons, but they certainly aren't being open and honest," Ms Marsh said. "We just got a letter stapled to the back of our invoice on Wednesday telling us the centre was closing next Thursday. That's a week and a day's notice.

"It was a perfunctory letter that said, after a business review, a decision was made to close the day care centre. How can it not be viable? It's had a perfect or near-perfect assessment for the past five years and 100% occupancy.

"There was no consultation with parents or staff."

She said fees at the centre hadn't been raised in two years and parents would have paid more to keep it running.

"It's a small, well-run child care centre. It's like a second home," she said. "We could have worked with them. To be treated this way is an insult."

Another parent, Katrina McCleary, said she and other parents didn't want to take their children to another centre.

"We don't know if it's about money; we as parents don't know what's going on," she said.

"The best we can hope for is to get some kind of community interest in it and hope there's an outcome where it reopens, whether that's a privately owned company or if the committee decides they can reopen it."

Leichhardt-One Mile Community Centre president Merv Neumann said: "I'd prefer not to talk about it at this stage".

"We've decided to close it and that's the end of it. No other comments," Mr Neumann said.

He admitted "financial is one of the big issues" but didn't want to discuss the parents' concerns. "They've been advised and that's the end of the issue," he said.



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