Confirmed: Fate of Ripon facility will be decided next week

Officers have recommended that councillors vote in favour of closing the childcare centre, with a report stating that its continued operation cannot be justified."
Officers have recommended that councillors vote in favour of closing the childcare centre, with a report stating that its continued operation cannot be justified."

The fate of Harry’s Place crèche at Ripon Leisure Centre will be determined at a meeting of Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet next week (March 27), after the decision was deferred to allow more time to consult with staff.

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Officers have recommended that councillors vote in favour of closing the childcare centre, with a report stating that “its continued operation cannot be justified,” and that the facility costs £20,000 a year to run, but continues to attract low attendances.

But public sector union UNISON said Harry’s Place has “turned a corner,” and said there is evidence to support this - including an increase in numbers using the crèche during a trial period where the facility was opened up to the wider community.

However, the council said the increase still hasn’t been enough to make it viable in the long term.

UNISON has tabled proposals that they hope would make the crèche more sustainable and attractive to keep open.

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Branch secretary David Houlgate, said: “Staff have identified a saving that could be made by reducing staffing levels by one employee, realising a significant saving. We do not believe this would compromise service delivery.

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“We have asked that the staff proposal, which delivers significant savings, is adopted and a further trial period continues for another six months to the end of August 2019, to establish if the upturn in usage and income can be sustained and increased further.”