A CHILDCARE business owner in Fermanagh has called for urgent support to help the struggling sector, which she says is in crisis.
Clare Maguire owns Burrendale Day Nursery in Enniskillen and revealed the desperate state of the local industry.
“My light and heating costs have gone up from £9,000 to £25,000 in one year. My food bill went up by £7,000. I had to increase my prices to save my business,” Ms Maguire said.
“I really do feel for the parents and what they have to put up with now, but I was left with no other option, and it’s the same with other nurseries here.”
Childcare organisation Employers for Childcare says many childcare providers are planning to raise fees by about 10 per cent from April.
The company works on behalf of parents, employers and childcare providers.
It says rising energy bills, food costs, wages and business rates have created a perfect storm for daycare facilities.
Burrendale Day Nursery in Enniskillen has a staff of 35 and could have up to 102 children in a day.
“I had to raise fees by about 14 per cent, but I could have gone up to 18 per cent,” Ms Maguire, who has owned Burrendale Day Nursery since 2007, said.
“Last year we got rates relief, which is not going to happen this year.
“All the local nurseries have to do the same and raise their fees. If I could cut back somewhere I would, but at the moment it’s impossible. It is scary what’s happening.”
Ms Maguire also believed that working parents were not getting enough help from the government.
“I wish there was more help there for parents. In England, you can get 30 hours of free childcare a week, but not here. There’s tax-free childcare and universal credit or vouchers, but that is it,” she said.
“I’m lucky that the parents here are very understanding. They get other family members like grandparents to look after their children for a day, or whatever, to try and cut down on the cost.
“They shouldn’t have to do that. It’s just the way things are at the moment.”
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