Petition launched to save Dagenham pre-school

Lilliput pre-school, in Vicarage Road, Dagenham, is set to close on Friday

Lilliput pre-school, in Vicarage Road, Dagenham, is set to close on Friday - Credit: Archant

The closure of a much-loved pre-school just days before Christmas has sparked anger among parents.

Lilliput Pre-School in Dagenham will not re-open in the New Year after problems negotiating a new lease agreement.

Although the group holds a lease at the village hall in Vicarage Road until February, manager Clair Kyle says it would be unfair on children starting in early 2016 to continue and plans to shut on Friday.

“It’s very disappointing,” she said. “It’s the end of an era.”

Terri Holdich, of Exeter Road, Dagenham, has launched a petition to try and save the group and has already gathered 199 signatures.

“I’m really upset – we all are,” the 32-year-old said. “We don’t want to send our children to other schools, we’ve sent them there for a reason – my son loves it.”

Nicola Cook, 40, of Downing Road, Dagenham, went to the pre-school when she was a girl and now takes her three-year-old daughter, Ivy.

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She said: “How do you tell a three-year-old she can’t go to school anymore?

“She was off ill last week and cried everyday because she couldn’t go and see her friends.”

Mum-of-two Tracy Dance, 36, of Wilthorne Gardens, Dagenham, says her two-year-old daughter is “absolutely devastated”.

“It took three weeks for my girl to accept that place and now she idolises it,” she said. “I’ve tried telling her that she won’t be going back but she just cried and cried.”

A spokeswoman for Barking and Dagenham Council said the borough’s Family Information Service will support parents to find alternative childcare.

“The local authority has provided continued support to the preschool and offered advice and help to parents since the announcement by the trustees that they would be terminating the preschool’s use of the hall,” she said.

Any concerned parents should email or phone 020 8227 5395.

For more information or to sign the petition visit