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Smartypants nursery owner: ‘I’ve done nothing wrong’
THE owner of a York day nursery which closed suddenly has spoken for the first time about why her business shut without any warning.
The Press reported earlier this week how Smartypants nursery in Castlegate, closed its doors on Friday and made staff redundant days later – after taking hundreds of pounds in fees for September from parents.
Owner Helen Lane has now issued a statement to The Press explaining the collapse of her company – which is now in the hands of insolvency firm RMS Tenon – and has spoken of her heartache at having to make the “horrendous” decision to close Smartypants.
“This has been an agonising time for me, as I am well aware of my staff and parents’ responsibilities,” she said.
“As many of my competitors locally will confirm, this industry has been affected by government legislation such as free nursery hours, regulatory bodies such as Ofsted legislation and ultimately the recession.
“A fall in the volume of children through parents struggling to work and fund childcare coupled with bad debt from struggling parents and a general rise in costs have been contributory factors with the demise of my business.”
She said further factors, including the recent separation from estranged husband, Jonathan Lane,, a director of the nursery, have led to further financial problems, leaving her unable to continue her business.
Mr Lane himself issued a statement this week distancing himself from the business, saying he never gained any financial benefit from it.
A number of parents have spoken out about how the unforeseen closure led to them having to pay for emergency care at other nurseries, having already paid for September.
Mrs Lane said the monies received from parents were on a standing order basis and not direct debit, and those affected could contact RMS Tenon.
She said: “I would like to reiterate that had there been any alternative I would have taken that path. Ultimately, I have had no financial gain and am myself unemployed. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all parents, staff and Early Years Teams who have supported Smartypants over the last ten years, and despite the tragic end to the nursery, hope that now the situation appears a little clearer.
“I have not done anything wrong and have simply done what I have been advised.”
Mrs Lane said she wanted to thank the team at Muddy Boots, in Boroughbridge Road, at the old Manor School site, whcih had come forward to help parents struggling to find alternative child care.
“They have made a very kind offer to give previous Smartypants children a free month child care and I will personally fund their registration fee. Any parents interested please contact Muddy Boots directly.”
Muddy Boots owner Anna Nimmo confirmed the offer and said they made contact to see if they could help.
Parents can be advised on how to claim fees back by contacting Leeds-based RSM Tenon on 0113 244 5451.