Toddler group pushed out of Hampstead church to make way for free school

�A woman who has run a mother and toddlers’ group for 15 years from St Luke’s Church Hall is affronted that the vicar gave her just six months to find new premises before a free school opens there in September.

Frances Bildner, 53, has run her business Creative Wiz Kids, from St Luke’s Church Hall in Kidderpore Avenue for 15 years.

The mother and toddlers’ group is held on four mornings a week and offers parents and toddlers music and art sessions. Ms Bildner also runs a holiday club for three to nine-year-olds and stages children’s parties there.

She claims that when plans to open a free school in the Church Hall of St Luke’s were first mooted last summer, she understood that she could continue to use the church hall.

But in March, the vicar wrote to her to inform her that she would have to find new premises by September.

Ms Bildner told the Ham&High: “The vicar wrote us a note even though I’ve known him for 15 years.

“It was extremely unsettling, when you’ve been somewhere that long – and it’s not easy to find a new space. We really loved being there.”

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Ms Bildner welcomed the opening of the new school for children in NW3 but felt that the church could have accommodated her group as well.

“I think they could have accommodated us, maybe a little differently,” she said. “If you have people being that loyal to you for 15 years, it’s quite a shock.

“I think it’s great that they’ve got a new school but we could have all worked together as a community.”

Creative Wiz Kids will operate from Golders Green Parish Church in West Heath Drive from September.

The vicar Alistair Tresidder was unavailable for comment because he is on sabbatical.

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