Staff at a children’s nursery in Angus are facing the new year with uncertainty after losing their jobs.
A total of 27 staff members were served their redundancy notices by M&R Childcare Services Limited which ran First Steps Nursery in a converted church in John Street, Montrose.
Owners Roberta Taylor and Maureen Moir had struggled to pay staff wages amid a backdrop of falling pupil numbers at the business, which was set up in 2010.
It provided a day care service to a maximum of 146 children from birth to primary school age but this number more than halved before the doors finally closed.
Charles Sands, Insolvency Practitioner at CS Corporate Solutions in Stonehaven, has been appointed as liquidator of the company which ceased trading on December 21.
He said there has been a “sustained decline” in numbers over recent years and, despite actions taken by the directors, the nursery could not continue to operate viably.
“The difficult decision was taken to close the doors and the company has been unable to pay the staff in full for the hours they have already worked.
“The nursery has recently been caring for less than 100 children in a large converted church building and had 27 members of staff.
“The Redundancy Payments Service has been contacted and they will ensure ex-employees will receive some of the payments they are due in a much shorter timescale than if they had to wait for the assets of the employer to be realised.”
A meeting of creditors, including directors Taylor and Moir, was held in Stonehaven on December 28.
Employees and creditors have been sent information on how they can lodge their claims.
Mr Sands continued: “First Steps was a well-established nursery with an excellent reputation and this news will be very distressing for many children, parents, teaching and all other staff past and present.
“We will do whatever we can to assist them during this difficult time.”
Angus MP Kirstene Hair has spoken of her regret over the job losses and contacted Skills Development Scotland with the view to providing help and support to those affected.
She said: “SDS events have consistently proven effective at getting skilled valuable employees back in the workforce.
“I have been in touch with the agency and want to help all former nursery staff find a new job.
“This will be devastating news for families at the hardest time of year.
“A multi-agency approach would end much of their uncertainty in 2019.”