“Early Years care has been drastically under funded for years and now we have been given a 2 pence rise that we have to justify,” said Emma Reynolds owner of the Hornchurch Nursery Scallywags.
Emma is at her wits ends not just at the lack of funding but also the lack of care and support early years providers have had.
“The government give us £5 per 3/4 year old children. That would never match a babysitter’s rates. We are so underfunded. Last year we were told that the government was putting millions into early years and now we have been told we are getting a two pence increase that we have to justify.
“The local council predict the levels of children going to nurseries each year and for the past few years there have actually been less then they predicted, so we were hoping that that money saved there would be ring fenced back to us but it wasn’t. It was put into the schools deficit.”
Emma and her staff have been open right throughout the pandemic with no support from anyone.
She continued: “We were told we had to stay open for everyone so we did. We have not had any PPE. It was just last Friday 25th January that we were actually given us first batch of PPE’s, that’s eleven months after the pandemic started. Up until now we have had to buy our own.
“We have been told we can get a Covid discressionary grant but where is it? We are literally on our knees here with no support from anyone.
“It is lucky that we have remained open otherwise we would have gone under. With rent to pay and no support from anyone we would not have managed.”
Another aspect that has angered Emma is lack of testing being offered to nursery and early years staff.
“We are seeing schools being given deep cleaning, schools being given support and schools being given lateral testing on site. Yet they are closed. What about us?
“We have been told that we can’t have lateral testing as we don’t have first aid yet we are all first aid trained here, so where is the difference?
“Many of my staff members don’t drive so I am bringing them to be tested at Elm Park and that means two members of staff out at the time. Each week for us it is the Covid Lottery, who is going to get it this week?”
Emma and her staff are angry and disappointed at the poor treatment they have received.
“We are overworked, my staff are getting sick, they are anxious and working so hard. They don’t get to see their loved ones as they are working everyday from 7.45 am until 6pm.”
Despite the ongoing lock down’s, it was just last week that Emma and her team received a phone call to see how they are coping.
“No one has bothered to see how we are. Last week we got a call finally to check on us and truthfully we are on our knees. We should be getting lateral testing like schools, we should have had PPE last year. I can’t furlough my staff as I’ve been told I have to remain open. All of us have worked non stop without any support. We need help now.”
The Havering Daily has contacted Havering Council for a quote and are waiting for a reply.