Sad news for children's nursery

A CHILDREN'S nursery and play centre that has already survived slipping into insolvency twice today looks set to be forced to close its doors for good.

A CHILDREN'S nursery and play centre that has already survived slipping into insolvency twice today looks set to be forced to close its doors for good.

Disappointed parents were told that the Totally Brilliant activity centre and Funstars University Nursery in Whitehouse Road, Ipswich, were likely to close in about eight weeks.

Owner Jim McCann broke the news to his seven full-time and 20 part-time staff yesterday .

Mr McCann said: "Mums are disappointed and I'm a bit gutted.

"Because I've lost so much money, this was my last throw of the dice.

"It looks pretty certain that we'll close. I've been trying for years to turn it into a success."

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Parents of the 40 children who use the nursery each week now face the task of finding an alternative nursery for next term.

Claire Cutler, 31, of Princes Gardens, Somersham, has been sending her daughter Bethany, 4, to the nursery for more than a year.

She said: "I am really upset. It took me a long time to find somewhere nice and she is happy there.

"She is really upset and doesn't want to lose her friends.

"The worst thing is that Somersham primary school won't take here until September so I have to find somewhere for three months and I've got less than three weeks to do it."

Totally Brilliant opened in 1994 but went into voluntary redundancy in 1996.

After Mr McCann, 61, took it over in November 1996 it again floundered and, last July, went into administration.

At one point it operated a ladies gym as well as the nursery and activity centre but that closed in January resulting in five job losses.

Mr McCann, a father-of-two and former army trampolining champion from Glasgow, bought-out the liquidators on February 1 but the company has again run into trouble and may have to move from its Whitehouse Road premises.

He said its only hope of survival was to somehow increase business and to investigate becoming a charity in an effort to renegotiate rent payments.

Mr McCann said: "To take it over I was cutting it thin. There's no use keeping it open and running up debt.

"I can't plan for the future now, it could be (only) a couple of months.

"I've had to tell mothers because I've had no guarantee of anything.

He added: "I'll be out of a job as well.

"I probably could have been better off coming to this town and working for B&Q."

N Are you a parent affected by the possible closure of this centre? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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