More nursery places are to be made available south of Hereford city to meet increased demand for free nursery education.
Under government changes due to begin this September, two year olds will be entitled to receive 15 hours of free nursery education a week, if their parent or carer is in receipt of specific support benefits. The council has a duty to make sure there are enough places available to parents who wish their children to take up this offer. At the moment, there is a shortage of such places in the centre and to the south of Hereford.
Following a review of children’s centres undertaken by the council last year, one of the recommendations was to transform the Springfield Children’s Centre on the Riverside Primary School site to a nursery.
All the services and group sessions held at the Springfield Centre will continue to be provided from the South City Children’s Centre which has two other sites: one at the Green Croft Centre in Red Hill and the other at the South Meadow Centre in Hinton.
Michele Allam, early years integrated support lead, said “With the demand for childcare places set to grow, it made sense to merge the three existing south city children’s centres and vacate premises at Springfield so that a new nursery could be developed there.
“We are currently refurbishing the building to make it into a 70 place nursery and are working with nursery providers to explore options for managing this nursery which we hope will be up and running by September this year and complement the existing Hunderton Neighbourhood Nursery.
“Parents needing children’s centre services like baby massage, health visitor and baby weighing clinics, parenting courses, stay and play groups, speech and language therapy and soft play sessions, can continue to receive these from the South City Children’s centre at Green Croft and South Meadow.”