A TYNEDALE nursery has closed for good.

Diandjims nursery in Prudhoe, owned by Di and Jim Richardson who have been in the childcare business since 1995, shut its doors permanently on Friday, October 28.

Jim said they came to the decision for a "number of reasons". 

"We had hundreds of two-year-olds and in the two years when Covid happened, they became four-year-olds. And four-year-olds don't need us, they go to school," he said.

"We had a lot of staff, which costs a lot, and not very many children.

"From then, we've had staffing problems with staff moving on.

"We also had a not very good Ofsted report [the nursery was rated inadequate by Ofsted earlier this year], but we got through that.

"But really, it's really, really difficult to find good staff at the moment."

Jim, who designed the nursery's building on Broomhouse Lane 18 years ago, added: "We were running a nursery that people wanted to come to and we were getting inquiries, but we didn't have the staff to take them.

"Without the staff to take them, it's not cost-effective at all."

Many nurseries across the UK are currently struggling as costs continue to rise.

"The costs are huge," said Jim. "Nurseries are at breaking point basically all over the country."

"We held on and on but eventually I had to make a decision, and the only feasible thing to do would be to unfortunately close it," he added.

"Hundreds upon hundreds of children have been through the nursery. It's been fantastic.

"I love the staff, they're fantastic people, and the parents have all been fantastic, but I just can't run it with no money coming in."

Di and Jim also have a nursery in Hexham, located within the grounds of the former Hexham Middle School, which remains open.

"Both the nursery and the out-of-school club are doing great in Hexham," said Jim.

The pair, who also run The Fun Station soft play and the Get Licks ice cream parlours, now plan to sell the Prudhoe building as a fully-equipped nursery.

"It's very sad and it's been very emotional," said Jim. "We've had a lovely time here."

County councillor for Prudhoe South Gordon Stewart said: "Many people will have happy memories of this nursery.

"I would like to offer support to staff who were employed there, and I will be in contact with other providers in the area to try to ensure provision in the town is available.

"I am keen to see the building put into good and appropriate use as soon as possible."