Parents are fighting to save nurseries from closure again after fresh plans to axe childcare were revealed.

If Hackney Council’s plans go ahead, Fernbank and Sebright Children’s Centres could be closed by August 2025 as part of a restructuring of nursery provision for children aged between six months and five years.

Fernbank and Sebright have until Autumn this year for a new provider to take over the management if they are to continue. Hillside and Oldhill Children’s Centres are also affected by the changes.

Concerned parents and children gathered outside Sebright Children’s Centre, Haggerston, on Monday to stand up against the council’s “short-sighted” decision, with colourful signs telling politicians to keep their ‘hands off our nursery’.

Parent and spokesperson for Save Sebright campaign Yulisa Keselman said: “This news has come completely out of the blue for both staff and parents. We’re shocked at the speed with which the consultation has come and the injustice of it all.

“We wholeheartedly oppose this and will do everything to fight the decision to close our beloved nursery and children’s centre, which is at the heart of our community. These short-sighted decisions have a lasting impact on future generations.”

Protest signs. Photos courtesy of Matt Gill

Protest signs. Photos courtesy of Matt Gill

Mayor of Hackney Caroline Woodley said rising childcare delivery costs, challenged of finding enough staff and the council’s struggle with “insufficient” funding from the government continued to threaten early years childcare provision.

The proposal aims to find savings amid a £1.07m budget deficit as a result of a drop in nursery fees and higher operational costs and to find ways to save £4m across  the council’s early years service within the next three years, the Town Hall said.

Fernbank and Hillside centres were under a threat of closure in 2021, prompting a successful pushback from the parents.

Photo courtesy of Matt Gill

Photo courtesy of Matt Gill

Natalie Aguilera, a parent with a child attending Fernbank, said they were “devastated” having to fight again to keep the services open, which are a “lifeline” for many low-income families.

“Parents and carers are angry and emotional about staff redundancies, and deeply anxious about the impact on their children, as well as the enormous difficulty of finding affordable childcare elsewhere,” she said.

Hackney UNISON trade union’s joint branch secretary Matt Paul said although the council had difficult decisions to make under “Tory-driven” austerity and lack of funding from the government, key services for children should be protected.

Here is a recap of the proposed changes affecting four Children’s Centres across Hackney and how to have your say in the plans.


Alternative providers are invited to take over management, but if none is found by Autumn 2024, the centre will close by August 2025


Alternative providers are invited to take over management, but if none is found by Autumn 2024, the centre will close by August 2025


Proposal to turn Hillside into a specialist nursery with term-time education and care for children aged two to five years with special educational needs or a disability (SEND)


Plan is to phase out places for four-year-olds to provide nursery places for children aged six months to up to three-years-old

The consultation is now open until April 24, 2024 and it can be found at .

Parents and carers can also attend consultation meetings at each children’s centre and online across February and March.