Stepping Stones Crèche to close at University

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The Ulster University Students’ Union has condemned a plan to close of Coleraine campus crèche.

In a statement the Union said: “Ulster University Students’ Union is disappointed at the decision by Ulster University to close the building occupied by Stepping Stones Crèche. This action and a failure to relocate the crèche will force it off campus against the wishes of the crèche and student parents who depend on it.

“The crèche is a not for profit organisation which has served students, staff and the local community for over 41 years. They offer reliable affordable and flexible childcare on campus supporting our local and international student parents.

“Year on year they have supported couples, single parents, undergraduates, postgraduates and staff to study and succeed at Ulster. Additionally the crèche provides a breastfeeding friendly environment for students and staff.

One student parent, Shannen Maher, said “The crèche has been a life saver for me. I am a single parent and doing everything alone and studying on top of that is hard enough but having the crèche on campus makes it that bit better, easier and less stressful. It also gives me peace of mind knowing that my daughter is so close if something were to happen”

Ulster University Students’ Union President Colum Mackey said “The provision of flexible childcare is vital to widen access to prospective students who are parents while supporting gender equality in higher education. Providing quality, stimulating and caring childcare for students and staff on campus is imperative in supporting Ulster students. UUSU opposes this move which could place some of our most vulnerable students at a very significant disadvantage. We are calling on Ulster University to work with the crèche and with students to maintain this vital service on campus. “