Convoy out of school recreation service to close

Parents challenge election candidates to find a solution

Convoy school out of school recreation service to close

Convoy facility to close

Convoy is about to lose another essential service with the imminent closure of a local out of school recreation service.

In an open letter to parents yesterday, (Monday), managing partner at Smart Steps, Rebecca Fleury, said it was with a heavy heart that she and husband, David, were contacting them to inform all of their decision to close the facility which operates out of St Mary's Hall.

A local parent who uses the facility, Helen Cleary, said parents were shocked and saddened at the loss of the wonderful service and were currently left in limbo about where to send their children now.

"This facility has enabled parents to remain in the workplace and be assured of their child's wellbeing while doing so.  

"We are all shell-shocked and very sad because it was a wonderful service. It's going to be an election issue in this area and we are writing to all candidates to make sure they know about the crisis and hopefully initiate some steps into helping out.

In a direct message to the candidates she added: "Rest assured the electors who avail of this service will fondly recall on Saturday February 8 the candidate who manages to have it restored."

Ms Fleury explained to the parents why she had to close.

"As some of you may be aware, the childcare industry is currently experiencing a range of problems including lack of adequate investment and increasing administrative and regulatory demands, all worsened by a major staffing crisis within the sector.

"We have been running our service in Convoy for almost 18 months and have poured a great deal of time, effort and resources into the setting. Last year, Smart Steps received a mere fraction of DCYA funding awarded in previous years, the consequences of which have been significantly increased stress for both myself and our entire staff team across both services.

"Despite the difficulties faced over the past year, we have very much enjoyed working with your children each day and have come to know and love each child immensely. Your children have been our motivation to keep going throughout all the challenges over the past 12 months and we are so grateful to have welcomed them all into out Smart Steps family.

"Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the service is simply not sustainable financially not from a personal perspective."

She added their after school service would continue to run as normal until 6pm on Friday, February 28.

She added: "We are heartbroken that circumstances have forced us to take this action. Please understand this action was not taken lightly and has been the topic of great deliberation for a number of months."

Ms Fleury thanked everyone on behalf of their team for their faith and trust they showed allowing them to look after their children over the past 18 months.

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