A VILLAGE preschool is facing serious financial difficulties and could be forced to close.

Compton and Shawford Preschool, has been operating for more than 40 years. It is a registered charity and fundraising is vital.

But in recent years more private day nurseries have opened in the area, meaning less children have been attending.

Debbie Rushton, committee member for fundraising, said: “As a small registered charity, fundraising provides a vital income to the preschool. Sadly, since start of the pandemic, we have been unable to hold any of our usual fundraising events, which has had a devastating impact on the preschool's income.

“Therefore, in order to try and ensure the survival of the preschool, which provides such an important service to the local community, we have started a crowdfunding campaign to raise essential funds.”

Donations can be made via the school’s GoFundMe page online: https://gf.me/u/x6sggp.

“We understand that this is a very challenging time for everyone,” added Ms Rushton, “and will be very appreciative of contributions of any size.”

“We would welcome any other support should any local businesses be able to help us in any way.”

The school reopened on June 8 and has received additional funds to ensure compliance with current guidelines.

Hampshire County Council has not changed the funding arrangements, but staff are worried for the long term.

Ms Rushton added: “We are well aware that if we cannot operate our full hours due to social distancing requirements, this may well not be the case.

“With the uncertainty around what the next academic year will look like, it is very challenging to plan. The implications of this on our finances are significant, and without support, the long term future of the pre-school is uncertain.”