An Irvine nursery is closing its doors after falling victim to a staff and cash crisis.

Annick Nursery, in Irvine Old Parish Church, will shut its doors for good this Friday, December 21, after being affected by staff and funding shortages, leaving 33 children needing to find other placements.

Beth McNerlin, manager of the nursery, which has served as a feeder nursery to Glebe Primary for more than 20 years, says “a combination of factors” has led to the closure.

She told the Times: “It’s unfortunate but just due to a combination of factors we have had to make the decision to close the nursery.

“The Scottish Government’s extended hours programme has hit us hard. People have taken their kids out to go to nurseries which are already piloting the scheme so they are going where they are getting longer hours. We have lost some staff to that too and we are a charityrun nursery so that affects our income.

“So we have had to make the difficult decision that as of this Friday Annick Nursery will be closed.”

Beth says she hopes that the 33 children will find placements elsewhere, adding: “We have a great bunch of kids here so we are hoping that they go in wee groups onto their new nurseries and that will make the transition easier for them.”

But one mum told the Times parents are struggling to get their children placements elsewhere.

She said: “Other council nurseries have limited numbers if any. It’s an absolute shame we have over 30 kids about to be split up all over the town. It’s been tears and tantrums this week with everyone trying to get spaces. They tried to get us supply staff to keep it open until summer, but no joy.

“This nursery has fed Glebe for years. As such the council haven’t ever needed to provide one because it was there. The parents offered to fundraise to improve the hall, kitchen and toilets so they could offer full days, but without the staff the decision has been taken out our hands. 

“The council nurseries pay at least £3 more an hour so staff have quite rightly been looking elsewhere.

“It was such an amazing nursery as well. But despite the manager continuously asking for help there has been none.

“This could also affect Glebe’s intake numbers as parents may end up going to nurseries that feed into another school.”

A spokesperson for North Ayrshire Council, said: “We are saddened to hear of the imminent closure of Annick Nursery. The much-loved, charity run pre-school has served the community of Irvine for several years. We have been working with staff as they support parents to help find alternative plac ements for the children.”