STAFF at a nursery supporting vulnerable families fear it will have to close due to lack of funding.

The Little Ducklings nursery in Harmsworth Crescent, Brighton, has recently received a “good” Ofsted rating.

But manager Charlie Friend said it will not be able to re-open come September due to lack of funding.

She said: “We have a lot of vulnerable families on low incomes, living in poverty, who use our nursery and rely on the government funded childcare scheme.

“The issue we have, is the funding we receive from the Government is so very low so it’s just not sustainable.

“Some of the parents are using foodbanks to feed their families and our nursery provides essential support for them and their children. Little Ducklings is a safe haven for many.”

Ms Friend said unless £10,000 can be raised by the end of July, the nursery will not be re-opening its doors again.

Mum-of-three Kelly Glenn, 28 from Hangleton, said her children have been to the nursery.

She added: “It’s heartbreaking. One of my kids, who is three, is still there and it would just be devastating if it shut. She used to be quite a shy person but she comes out of there singing. They also support us parents. If I haven’t been able to do a shop or get any food the staff always offer things like bread so that I can make a sandwich. They really care and always make sure to check in. I don’t know what I would do if it shut.”

She said the nursery charges about £15 a session, but others she has looked at charge about £25 and above which is out of her budget.

She said: “I would just have to stop it. I want to get back to work and the great thing about Little Ducklings is they are so flexible. They can keep the kids for an extra bit of time for such a low cost. I just don’t think there’s another nursery like it.”

Parent Charlotte Walls, who works at Asda, lives in the same road as the nursery. Three of her four children, Lottie, three, Sonny, four, Max, ten and Kyle, 12, have attended the nursery, She said: “It’s an invaluable set-up. I work nights and it has been a saviour having the nursery to send my kids to when I need to sleep in the daytime. I know there are a lot of parents who really rely on it. There isn’t really anywhere else close for us parents, and certainly not many affordable options.”

Cheryl Blakeney has six children ranging in age from 14 months old to 21 years old, four of whom have attended Little Ducklings. She hopes her youngest will be able to attend too.

She said: “All of them have had very positive experiences, growing in confidence and learning to interact with people from outside the family. Despite coming from a large family, each child has been treated as an individual, with their personal strengths, needs and interests recognised. Ducklings has been a key part of our children’s early years’ development, becoming part of our extended family.

“We will be heartbroken if our youngest won’t have the same opportunity to experience the opportunities this wonderful setting has provided over the years. There are some things that money cannot buy, but financial support could, in this case, allow Ducklings to continue its valuable work with the young children in our community.”

The nursery has been established for more than 15 years and helped thousands of children become school ready. Ms Friend has set up a JustGiving page to help raise funds.