Parents have expressed shock that a Catford nursery with a number of special needs children has announced it has been forced to close.

Ravensbourne Project Nursery said it had financial difficulties which has forced it to take the drastic action of shutting for good after 35 years.

The nursery is connected to the charity Ravensbourne Project which helps children with mental problems.

While the nursery isn’t specifically for children with special needs, many parents of children with complex needs sent their children to their nursery because they trusted their work.

Parents, such as mum-of-two Gemma Barden, have tried every avenue they can find to try keep the nursery open before its closing date at the end of March

She said: “Myself and other parents that have children that attend this nursery are shocked by the quick closure of the establishment as we were only made aware of this action in January of this year.

“Over the last few month, myself and other parents have been campaigning to keep the nursery open as it is a great asset to both the local community and the children that attend.

“The nursery closing now on such short notice means our children's routines will be messed up and also finding children alternative placements at such short notice is very difficult, especially for parents with special needs children.”

Rob Jones, operations director of the Ravensbourne Project, said the reason they had to close was because of falling attendance figures.

Speaking to News Shopper, he said: “Unfortunately over the past four to five years the numbers here decreased on an ongoing basis.

“We have less than 50 per cent of spaces filled in the nursery. Only eight children in the nursery for 24 places.

“It literally comes down to we can no longer subsidies the nursery. A lot of nurseries open from early in the morning to six or seven at night, but we are only open at school hours.

“It’s a very sad situation. We sat down every year for the past four years to try come up with ideas to make up for the shortfall.”