Decades-old preschool is losing its home but staff ‘are not giving up’

A preschool that has been running for several decades in a suburb of Bristol is desperately looking for a new home. St Joseph's Preschool has been based at the St Joseph’s Church in Fishponds[1] for nearly 50 years and has since countless school start their early education.

But the preschool is now looking for a new home after recently being served 12 months’ notice to end their Tenancy. The church is undergoing renovations and will no longer be able to host the preschool after the end of the 2023/2024 academic year.

Run by centre manager Cathy Williamson, the preschool has 70 children and is currently running at capacity. The majority of children there, 42, attend every day from ages two to four years.

Preschool manager Joanne Duffy said: “It was a shock. We didn't see it coming really as we had it for so long.

“Obviously when it came to our next tenancy agreement, I think Cathy was told that the Diocese had other plans for it. They want to refurb the building but we are unsure what their plans are.”

The preschool is looking to raise £20,000 over the coming months to allow staff to renovate a new space or put it towards the cost of buying a new venue. More than £700 has been raised through a fundraiser[4], with a sizeable donation of £405 coming from a Halloween house display.

“We need another setting that is local to our area as we have children who attend already”, Joanne said. “Then we have the follow-on school. We want to be local as parents have been using the school and they are depending on us to keep it going.

“We want to keep it going and we need a new setting. We are not giving up, we are continuing but we find a new setting and refurbish the site to our needs and more appropriate for our needs.”

The preschool's management is looking for a setting with at least 130 square feet with four toilets an office and storage space, kitchen and an outdoor area. Some of the staff members' own children have attended the preschool over the years and Joanne described the school as “essential” to families in the Fishponds area.

Joanne said: “It is vital we keep going. A lot of preschools have closed so we are one of the few that remain in the area.

“Ideally we want somewhere good where we can move into and be our forever home. With the government funding and cost of childcare going up, that will increase the demand as well. We are hoping to not only support our [current] children but also future children.”

Anyone who can suggest an alternate venue can email [email protected] or call 01179147173. You can support the fundraiser here.[5]


  1. ^ Fishponds (
  2. ^ Latest Bristol plans include 16-storey flats development (
  3. ^ Council ordered to pay thousands in compensation to family of disabled girl (
  4. ^ More than £700 has been raised through a fundraiser (
  5. ^ You can support the fundraiser here. (