Families and staff in limbo as town creche closes suddenly
WORKERS at a Dungannon creche have been left shocked and angry after the facility was closed without warning.
Treehouse Limited, which was based at the South West College campus on the town’s Circular Road, also operated in Omagh, but shut its doors on Friday last, May 25.
It is understood up to 40 jobs are at risk across three facilities, with 10 employed at the Dungannon facility, according to the Treehouse website.
In a statement about the shock move, which has left many local parents without childcare facilities, Malachy McAleer, the Director of South West College, said he was “concerned and disappointed by this serious development”.
“Many of our students and staff need crèche services to be able to continue balancing academic, work and life commitments and we are acutely aware of the impact that this situation will have on them”, said Mr McAleer.
“South West College has the interests of students and staff as its foremost priority. We have stressed the urgency of bringing this matter to a satisfactory conclusion to the estates management supplier.
“The college has an open communications policy and is consulting with all staff and students to keep them updated about ongoing developments.”
A spokesman for Interserve, the company which oversees the sub-contracting of creche services at the college, said that the closure of the facilities was “of great concern”.
“We can confirm we have been informed that Treehouse Kindergarten Limited which provides the creche service in South West College at Dungannon and Omagh, has closed down with immediate effect following difficulties in trading,” he said.
“This is obviously of great concern to us as well as to the families who use the facilities, and we are doing everything we can to find replacements for the previous arrangements. We shall be contacting parents as soon as we are able to offer a new service and meanwhile would ask them to bear with us through what we recognise is a difficult time for all.”
Fermanagh-South Tyrone MLA, Tom Elliott, said some of the staff have not been paid and are now out of work with immediate effect.
“This has resulted in many parents having nowhere to leave their young children while they go to work or study,” he said.
“I have been in contact with the Southern Education Board, the South West College and the Southern and Western Health Trusts to see if we can get a satisfactory conclusion that another local provider may take over the running of these creche facilities as soon as possible and offer assistance to staff and parents at this sudden closure which is having a huge impact on all concerned.
“The first priority is to get places for parents and the next important step is to get staff paid what they are owed.”
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Weather for Dungannon
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: South west