A FORMER teacher is setting up a nursery at a location where a pre-school is closing because not enough children attend.

As previously reported in the Gazette, Snapdragons Community Pre-School, in Old Down Hall, Kempshott, is shutting its doors after five years because not enough children were registered.

The charity which ran it said it was operating at a loss, despite the committee’s efforts to promote the setting to the local community.

However, Clare Wilkins, a former primary school teacher, hopes to re-open the site as a nursery in January next year.

The mother-of-four has set up a limited company called Shooting Stars Nursery, and will be employing the former deputy manager of Snapdragons along with two other staff.

The 44-year-old from Marnel Park, Basingstoke, said the nursery may appeal to parents looking for a teacher-led setting, and said: “I have been teaching for over 20 years but school is very push, push, push and I would like to be involved with the other end where you can play with the children and teach them through play, that side appeals to me. Our motto is reach for the stars and shine.”

There are also plans to extend Old Down Hall, which will include improving the outside space.

Clare said: “It’s an exciting time for the hall because there’s a community grant for quite a lot of money and it will be used to extend the hall in the next couple of years so it’s an exciting time to be involved with the hall.”

She has been promoting the new nursery through advertising on social media, and will also be holding an open morning on November 30 with free Christmas craft activities for prospective parents.

“Our unique selling point is we are teacher led which lots of places aren’t,” explained Clare, who hopes to make the business a success, adding: “We are considering whether to open term time only or all year round, which is different because a lot of places close in the holidays.

“We will be flexible because each child is individual and each parents’ needs are individual. We teach children they can do anything they want to, they just have to keep trying.”

The nursery will offer hot meals delivered each day.

Anyone interested in finding out more can visit the website shootingstarsnursery.co.uk or find them on Facebook.

Clare is currently offering home visits to any prospective parents, because the hall is not yet ready to look around.