Kiddi Caru on Lillie Road being taken over by Metropolitan Police
Councillor Linda Wade, Muneer Taskar, Zeshan Ghory, Theodore Morith and his children
Dozens of families’ lives have been ‘devastated’ by the sudden announcement that their nursery will close and become a counter-terrorism hub for the Met Police.
Kiddi Caru nursery sits beside Empress State tower in Lillie Road, Fulham, and is used as offices by the Met.
The company – which manages 39 nurseries in the UK and charges £95 a day – was told by the Met in June 2018 that its lease would end in June 2019.
Despite being offered several extensions to its lease, the company has been unable to find new premises, after one attempt to find a new location collapsed in December.
Kiddi Caru said the company is “supporting” families to find alternative childcare before the nursery closes on 20 March.
Parents of the nursery’s 65 children were furious that this long period of uncertainty about its survival was kept secret.
They were only told about the impending closure via an email on 20 January, and were originally told it would close in mid-February.
“I might have to stop working if I can’t find another nursery, one that works the same hours I do,” said Zeenat, 39, a pharmacist whose daughter enrolled at the nursery in September.
“A nanny wouldn’t be affordable so I would have to quit work, or send my daughter to my family in Yorkshire.
“All the other nurseries have been taken up in a mad rush. We can’t all afford over £2,000 a month. That’s what childcare costs.”
Theodore Morith, 41, who works for a payment processing firm, said, “We have three girls who’ve been going over the last five years. Our son is two and he goes there.
“Pretty much all the parents feel devastated and in a dire position. We have put a lot of money into this company, we believe that as a family we should be treated better.”
Muneer Taskar, 40, said, “Our daughter is 20 months old. Childcare is a critical part of my family’s life. We initially thought the police were being heavy handed but that turned out to be not true.”
A letter written from London’s deputy mayor of policing, Sophie Linden, to Liberal Democrat politician Caroline Pidgeon confirmed the reason for the nursery’s closure.
“in June 2018, the MPS engaged with the tenant to say that the new purpose of the building was as a Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Hub,” Ms Linden wrote.
A group of parents had a meeting with Kiddi Caru’s CEO Adrian Moore on Jan 27, and were joined by Lib Dem councillor Linda Wade.
Mr Morith said, “The CEO said he was worried the parents would leave if they told us earlier that it would close, he said it was a ‘business decision’. He basically told us he decided to screw us so the company wouldn’t lose money.”
A spokesperson for Kiddi Caru said, “We have gone to great lengths to look for alternative premises but this has not proved successful.
“We have been supporting families looking for alternative childcare by contacting other local providers and discussing their current availability, and this is the same for staff looking for employment whether that be within the Kiddi Caru Group or outside.”
Owen Sheppard - Local Democracy Reporter
February 20, 2020