Meon Valley MP Flick Drummond is to raise the issue of pre-school funding with the Government after it came up during a visit to Busy Bees nursery in Bishop’s Sutton.

Ms Drummond met with nursery manager Debbie Markwick to discuss the sector and visit the facilities. She toured the nursery’s forest school and met with children, staff and volunteers. The nursery caters for 70 children and is based at Bishop’s Sutton Village Hall. It is currently hiring due to increased demand for the service.

However, two years ago the cost was £4.66 per child per hour for a three to four-year-old. Now that has risen to £7.20 but there has been no increase in funding. Shortfalls are made up by fundraising and the use of volunteers, Ms Drummond was told.

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“It was really good to visit such a wonderful pre-school and to see the children so happy but I know there are major challenges for the pre-school sector,” said Ms Drummond.

“It is quite clear that to offer such a good service costs money and I made a pledge to Debbie to raise funding as a matter of urgency with the minister.

“We need a good and affordable pre-school provision like Busy Bees in Meon Valley and I will do all I can to help ensure these businesses remain viable.

“Thank you to Debbie and her team for allowing me to visit.”

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