The bosses of an east Suffolk nursery have made the "heart-wrenching decision" to close down. 

The Old Hospital Nursery, in the community hub which has taken over Southwold's former hospital, first opened in April 2022 and provided care to children aged between six months and four years old. 

The decision to close down the nursery, which is run by SouthGen, has been made due to the national crisis in early years staffing which has made it "impossible" to recruit sufficient staff, bosses have said. 

Elaine Glendinning, the nursery director, said: “This was such a difficult, heart-wrenching decision especially knowing the shortage of nursery places in our area has only increased since the closing of Brambles in Reydon.

"We care deeply about our children and their parents.

"We looked at every way to keep the keep nursery open from raising fees to limiting opening hours and restricting in-take to children over the age of two, but no matter which way we turned, we bumped up against the hard reality that we could not run a safe nursery without qualified staff, and these were not forthcoming.”

Management at SouthGen had considered keeping the nursery open for another month to give parents more time to find alternative care.

However, a spokeswoman for the nursery said that this would not be "legal or ethical" as there would not be enough qualified staff. 

The nursery was first opened after research showed there was a need for additional nursery places in the area. 

A spokesman for SouthGen said: "Our planning for the nursery was done pre-Covid when we found there was demand for a small family-style nursery that could incorporate Southwold’s beach, library and all its other wonderful amenities into the setting. In our first 18 months of operating, we were able to deliver high quality care through a dedicated team.

"But pay is low, hours are long and burn-out is high, which inevitably leads to staff turnover as people look for a better work-life balance."

The Old Hospital Nursery is one of a series of early years facilities to close in Suffolk since December 2023.