Parents have reacted with shock and anger after being told that a nursery service based in a Helensburgh community centre is set to close – just months after it opened to the public.

The manager of the Drumfork Nursery – located at the recently-refurbished Drumfork Community Centre – announced last week that the nursery, out-of-school facility and family centre will close at the end of this month unless new proprietors can be found.

The news comes less than two weeks after Princess Anne officially re-opened the centre following a two-year, £2 million renovation project.

In a message posted on social media, the nursery’s manager, Hazel Sneddon, who only took on the role in January, said: “It is with a very heavy heart that we have to inform our service users that the owners of the Drumfork Nursery have taken the decision to move on from the service.

"This means that the nursery will be looking to close on February 29, 2020.

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“We are very much aware of the impact this is going to have on families. We would like to reassure you that the Drumfork Team, Royal Navy and RNRMC take this very seriously and will be looking to keep the fantastic facility open if at all possible with minimal disruption to our families.

“We will keep you updated as we work through the options as soon as possible.”

Families with children at the nursery, which was open to naval families and the general public, have been offered support in finding new placements, however, many are disappointed at the sudden and unexpected blow.

Louise Cairns commented: “For a place that has been open such a short length of time, the environment and staff have already made such an impression on the community.

“They are running a top class facility, definitely one of the best nurseries I have come across.

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“It would be an absolute tragedy if the Royal Navy and RNRMC do not pull out all the stops to keep it open.

“Not only is it providing local naval families with top class childcare and education for their little ones, it’s also providing work for Navy spouses/dependants, who truly understand the unique challenges of service life and the effects on the children in their care.”

Another couple, whose youngster attends Drumfork Nursery, told the Advertiser: “We’ve been given just three weeks’ notice to arrange new child care, so it is a stressful and inconvenient situation, and that’s if we can find it.

“It is outrageous that someone running a business that is of vital importance to the local community can be allowed to just up sticks and leave parents and staff with just three weeks’ notice.

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"The stress of having to relocate my child at such an important developmental age could have a detrimental effect on their wellbeing.”

The company which operates the nursery, Kids Connecting Ltd, run by Katherine and John Black, also owns another centre – Big Bird Nursery, in Larkhall.

The owners have been contacted for comment.

A naval base spokesperson said the Royal Navy were “urgently investigating options”, and it was hoped a solution could be found to keep the facility running.

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