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Lib Dem leader backs 'lemonade' nurseries' campaign for funds

08-May-17
Article By: Angeline Albert

The Champagne Nurseries Lemonade Funding Group, which is calling for the Government to stop referring to the 30 hours offer as ‘free’ childcare, has won the backing of Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron.

The campaign group’s founder Donna-Marie Row, who owns Yorley Barn Nursery School in Suffolk, seized the opportunity to stop the Liberal Democrat leader in the street, while he was out on the campaign trail in London to tell him about the Government's 'grossly underfunded' 30 hours offer.

She told him: “The Conservative party have banged on about free childcare for three-and four-year-olds. What they’re not telling parents is that they are grossly underfunding the providers – me.

“So for instance, my nursery school, my hourly rate is £5.28 [per child]. The Government give me £3.87 but it’s against the law for me to charge parents a top up.”

The campaigner's impromptu speech led Tim Farron to ask her: “So you’re making an enormous loss?”

Ms Row, who runs a nursery attended by 30 children a day, has private non-funded parents paying £5.28 per hour.

She went on: “When they turn three [years-old], they are entitled to this free place. It’s not free, I’m subsidizing it.

“Nursery schools up and down the country are now closing. They want champagne nurseries on lemonade funding. Please, please talk to us.” In response, Tim Farron added: “Yeah we definitely will.”

After being told, he had just been filmed by the campaign group, he said: “We’ll definitely support you we just have to work out how we do it.”

Ms Row posted the video on Facebook with the words: “That moment you're blissfully walking through London during a weekend away to suddenly stumble across a massive opportunity.”

The Champagne Nurseries Lemonade Funding Group's campaign video

The Champagne Nurseries Lemonade Funding Group first launched an animated film highlighting the funding shortfall faced by nurseries when former Prime Minister David Cameron announced 30 hours 'free' childcare would be available to three to four-year-olds from September 2017.

To watch the animation visit http://champagnenurseries.co.uk/

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