A PRE-SCHOOL is set to shut down after 40 years in the city.

Sunbeams, a registered charity providing affordable childcare on Bromwich Road, is due to close on November 15 – with competition from funded alternatives having led to it becoming financially unsustainable.

In a letter to users of the facility, which operates out of The Mission Hall, the management committee, chaired by Anne Eyre, described the decision as “very sad”.

“The provision of early years care and education has changed a huge amount in the last few years and created a very challenging environment for parent-led settings like Sunbeams,” the letter said.

It went on to say, the drive towards pre-schools being based within schools and the introduction of 30 hours of funded care “made it harder” for the likes of Sunbeams.

The St Johns-based pre-school, run by volunteers, cannot offer those sorts of hours to attract new children and therefore generate enough funds, the letter said.

“Parents and carers are increasingly likely to choose settings which offer longer days, enabling them to work,” it continued.

The management committee said there has also been a “noticeable decline” in volunteers coming forward to help out.

All of these factors have led to Sunbeams becoming “financially unsustainable”, according to the letter, with the facility needing “far more children to attend in order to keep open”.

“Despite our best efforts there is no prospect of us being able to cover our costs in the medium term,” it continued.

It was hoped that the service could continue until the end of the academic year, but “unforeseen circumstances have resulted in the need to act more quickly”.

The pre-school was last inspected by Ofsted in 2016, when it achieved a good rating – with the report stating: “Children are happy and confident and have warm relationships with the staff.”

According to the Ofsted website, it was registered in October 1992, having evolved from a playgroup.

It currently runs between 9am and 12pm Monday to Friday, caring for children aged between two and five years.

As Sunbeams is a charity, with a constitution governing how it operates, an extraordinary meeting is being held on Monday (November 12) at 2pm, where a motion to close down will be voted on.

However, if the motion to close is not approved, Mrs Eyre will be stepping down as chair with immediate effect, meaning a replacement would have to be sworn in so the charity could continue operating legally.

The letter said: “I recognise that this will be a disappointment to you and it is not a decision which has been taken lightly.

“We are very proud of what has been achieved at Sunbeams over many years.

“We are truly sorry that the closure will have a direct impact on your child.

“We would not have made this decision if we could see another viable option.”

The management committee have urged users to attend the meeting as a way of supporting the staff.

If you would like to volunteer to replace Mrs Eyre, if the motion is not approved, email sunbeamspreschoolworcester@gmail.com or call 01905 780129.