A CASH-strapped pre-school is to close its doors next month – despite a massive drive to keep it going.

Last October, the Gazette & Herald revealed that the Rainbow Pre-School in Malton had debts of £14,000. Steps were taken to hold various fundraising activities and appoint a new committee.

But Melanie Pickering, who chairs the committee, confirmed this week that the school is to close its doors after 30 years on July 17.

She said: “It is with great sadness that Rainbow has had to make the decision that it will be unable to open for business for the new school term in September.

“Rainbow has had financial difficulties for some time and a lot of effort from a lot of people – staff, committee, parents and others – has been put in to try to turn its fortunes around.

“We wanted to keep Rainbow open because we feel it plays such a big part in the local community. We know children love coming here and the staff love being with them.”

About 150 people packed nearby Malton County Primary School’s hall last October to hear of the group’s problems and the steps being taken to raise enough cash to keep it going.

Most of the debt was to the Inland Revenue for back tax and national insurance, but it was also suffering from rising running costs and a drop in the number of children attending.

Most of those who attended that meeting wanted to keep it going and a series of events was planned to raise funds. Earlier this year, it was revealed that about £3,000 had been raised.

The pre-school, which is in the grounds of the primary school, runs from 7.30am-6pm.

It has up to 45 pre-school children and nearly 40 who attend out of school hours.

Mrs Pickering said: “A business decision had to be made.

“Despite the magnificent fundraising efforts, generous donations, cutting expenditure, increasing pre-school fees and having volunteer help we simply cannot cover our operating costs.

“A tremendous effort has been made but, in the end, it was not enough.”

Rainbow started life as the Derwent Playgroup 30 years ago, but which to its present name about 10 years ago. It employs three staff.

“We are all upset it has had to end this way, but there is no other option,” said Mrs Pickering, who added they were in talks with the primary school about the building and its contents.

Mrs Pickering said they were doing their best to ensure parents knew what other choices there were for their children.

She said: “We are working with the primary school and are pleased they will have places at their nursery for our older pre-school children and that they are currently exploring the possibility of providing before and after-school provision.”

She added: “We are now putting our efforts into ensuring that staff, children and parents enjoy their last summer with Rainbow, leaving with happy memories.”

Mark Poole, headteacher of the primary school, said: “We are all very disappointed that Rainbow can no longer be viable.

“We will continue to work with the committee to support them as best we can during this difficult time.”