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Whitton Day Nursery named ‘Nursery of the Year, South’ in the National Nursery Recognition Awards

Whitton Day Nursery named ‘Nursery of the Year, South’ in the National Nursery Recognition Awards

Press release from Whitton Day Nursery

Whitton Day Nursery in Whitton, Middlesex, is delighted to have won the prestigious award of ‘Nursery of the Year, South’ in the National Nursery Recognition Awards on 26th January.

Margaret Baran, Nursery Director said; “It was an amazing evening, which was spent at the Athena Venue in Leicester attended by many other wonderful children’s settings from all over the UK who, even if they did not win during the awards ceremony, were all very proud simply to have been shortlisted, as they should be!

“I would like to thank my amazing staff group, who have worked so hard over the years with our children and their families, for winning this award on behalf of our small, family owned, nursery.”


Nursery Entrepreneur named Business Person of the Year 2019

Nursery Entrepreneur named Business Person of the Year 2019

Press release from Bright Kids Nurseries.

A Studley nursery owner is celebrating being the toast of the town after scooping the Business Person of the Year title in a prestigious local award.

Tricia Wellings, Owner of Bright Kids Nursery Group, picked up the accolade at the glitzy Pride of Stratford Awards ceremony, held at the Crowne Plaza on Friday 8th February.

Tricia launched her flagship nursery, Bright Kids Studley, 20 years ago, in January 1999.

Since then, she has expanded the business exponentially and Bright Kids Group now consists of a further two nurseries in Crabbs Cross and Northfield, Birmingham and four out of school clubs. Tricia also launched an Early Years training facility, MBK Training in 2014, and subsequently a training products business, Foundation Focus – all of which operate from the group’s head office in Studley High Street.

Tricia said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be named Business Person of the Year. Bright Kids Group has been operating in the local area for 20 years now and things have expanded and grown over the years into a thriving network of businesses that I am delighted to lead.

“I couldn’t do it without my team and I’m really lucky to have such a fantastic group of people behind me. So, a big thank you to everyone that supports me and to the judges for choosing me as their winner. I live and work in Studley and I’m just thrilled to have been recognised in this important local award.”

Steve Orchard, Chief Executive of Touch FM, and one of the judges said: “I am sure that my fellow judges will agree with me that the standard of entries received exceeded all of our expectations. This year’s finalists represent the true Pride of Stratford. On Friday, we shone a huge spotlight on the businesses and those within our community who make this area a great place to reside and do business in.”

For more information about Bright Kids Nurseries visit, email or call 01527 452430.

Pre-School Alliance praises the “incredible legacy” of its founder Belle Tutaev, who has passed away aged 90

Pre-School Alliance praises the “incredible legacy” of its founder Belle Tutaev, who has passed away aged 90

Belle, who was born and raised in Jamaica, moved back to the UK with her mother when she was 17. She worked as a psychiatric nurse before getting married and having two children.

This is where her story with childcare began. While trying to organise a birthday party for her daughter, Mary, Belle realised she had no young friends to invite to her daughter’s party. There was no space for her daughter at nursery and no support available. With that, Belle created a group with other mums in a similar situation and started to look for places where they could meet regularly. A nursery nurse, who worked at Belle’s son’s school, offered to work with them and soon after, they found a space in a local church hall in Marylebone. It all started with six children attending the group for two hours a day.

Belle wrote a letter to The Guardian in 1961 called “Do-It-Yourself Nurseries” asking the government to provide more childcare places for children under five and suggesting that parents should set up their own groups to help with the childcare shortage.

The letter said: “Inquiries are welcomed (particularly from those enclosing a stamped-addressed envelope) from mothers and teachers who would like to create their own solutions to their problems.”

Within the first year Belle organised the first Annual General Meeting with 150 members, after having a huge response to her letter. Two years later, the association became recognised as a charity and had over 1,300 members. They opened their first office in Toynbee Hall in London.

Belle was the first President of the charity before becoming a teacher and then a headteacher at a nursery school in Bristol.

The Princess of Wales became the charity’s first patron in 1982 and the charity was now known as the Pre-school Learning Alliance.

For their 50th anniversary, Pre-school Learning Alliance collaborated with Ladybird books and published “50 Favourite Stories and Rhymes” which included ‘Belle’s Big Idea!’ Belle was awarded an OBE for services to children and families in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Chief Executive of the Alliance, Neil Leitch, said: “Belle’s contribution to early years childcare cannot be overstated.

“Childcare has changed enormously since the Alliance was founded almost 60 years ago, but it is testament to the strength of Belle’s original vision that our founding principles have remained constant. Belle understood instinctively that young children benefit enormously from playing and learning alongside their peers – and that government has a responsibility to support and enable this.

“At a time when children, families and early years providers are continuing to face significant challenges, our work is just as vital as ever. We will continue to battle for these essential services and ensure that we do justice to her incredible legacy. She was a remarkable woman and a cherished friend.”

Belle’s daughter, Mary, said: “I am so proud of Belle: a woman who created such an important movement at a time when many women and children weren’t regarded with much importance or relevance.

“Belle was a force of nature who never accepted restrictions or setbacks – and her strongly-held beliefs and convictions helped develop and change the lives of so many men, women and children. Let her tenacity, strength and pure conviction encourage future generations of adults and children to continue and build on such a fine organisation as the Alliance.”

Currently, Pre-school Learning Alliance provides childcare to over 800,000 families in England.

Original story by: Pre-school Learning Alliance

Nursery manager opens food bank to help parents stricken by poverty

Nursery manager opens food bank to help parents stricken by poverty

More than 14 million people, including 4.5 million children are believed to live in poverty in the UK.

Gemma Morris, manager at Marks Gate Children’s Centre Nursery, took the job over two years ago. The nursery is part of 37 nurseries in London run by the UK’s largest childcare charity, London Early Years Foundation (LEYF).

Child poverty has been rising in recent years all over the country, with places like Barking and Dagenham in London having the highest poverty rates. Nurseries in those areas had to open their own food banks to help out parents in need.

Ms Morris said to iNews that there have always been a lot of parents on benefits, but she has noticed the rise in the past few months: “It’s a shocking situation.

“I have been working in childcare for twelve years and have never seen anything like this before. Parents are literally starving themselves so their children can eat.

“It has always been an area that has some sort of deprivation, and we have always had a high number of families accessing grants for their two-year-olds, to help them get back into work, and a lot of parents who were unable to work due to various circumstances.”

Gemma added: “We have parents struggling to pay bills or with no food left in their cupboards. One single mother with two young children, who couldn’t work because she has diabetes, had definitely hit a rough patch when it came to benefits. They had changed over and having a waiting period in between, meant she couldn’t pay her gas or electricity.

“She was in and out of the hospital and got little support from her local authority in terms of her medical needs and making sure her house was warm, and her children were fed. So she would come and talk to us about it.”

With time, more parents opened up about their financial struggles, which made Gemma decide to do something about it: “We always had a surplus of food so began giving it out to those who needed it.

“It started off with maybe two or three parents who would come to the centre and ask us if we had any food to spare to get them through the weekend because they had run out.

“Although they had been given vouchers to use at public food banks, the problem is, these often come with conditions attached. You can only use them so many times a month, and we had parents telling us they couldn’t get enough food from them.

“We always had a surplus of food for the children left over at the end of the week, so we began giving it out to those who needed it. We’d give them tinned foods like soups and cans of tuna, bread we no longer needed, pasta with sauces and bottles of milk. Then some of the parents and staff began donating food too, so it became a regular thing.”

At last year’s ‘Prevent Child Poverty Week’, Gemma set up space at the nursery for people to donate everything they could from food to clothing.

She added: “That’s where the idea of setting up a regular food bank came from.

“I thought we could combine the food we had left over with donated items on a regular basis, then parents could come and take what they needed when they needed it.”

The nursery’s food bank plays a significant role in the lives of people stricken by poverty. 15 parents use it on a regular basis, with more parents using it when needed.

“They are always reluctant to take things from there, as they worry sometimes that it might reflect badly on them as parents and that they might be reported to social services for not being able to feed and clothe their children properly.

“But we encourage them to take as much as they need, telling them that when they are in a position to donate something back, they can. We reassure them that by doing this, they are in fact, doing all they can to help their children.”

A lot of parents have been struggling since the introduction of Universal Credit which was supposed to make claiming benefits easier, but a lot of parents state that they are worse off since the change.

Gemma told iNews: “From what I’ve seen, it just isn’t working. One single mum we have helped a lot, has four children and is unemployed. It was obvious she had been suffering. She was so thin her clothes were hanging off her.

“When I took her to one side and had a private chat with her, asking if everything was okay, she broke down and confessed she hadn’t been eating so her children could have more food. She was going without meals to make sure they didn’t have to.

“She had been told she could only use the public food bank three times in six months and they wouldn’t give her any more vouchers. I told her there was nothing to be ashamed about, that she could, and should take whatever she needed from our food bank.”

June O’Sullivan, MBE and CEO of London Early Years Foundation said: “Low-paid jobs, benefits cuts and the lack of affordable childcare mean that many parents struggle to put food on the table. If we are to see any measurable change, then we need a complete reform of the welfare and benefits system and more support for parents in employment and training.”

For Gemma, it’s a lot more than just providing food and toiletries for parents: “It is not really a nursery’s job to provide food and clothing for children outside of the premises, but you don’t go into working in childcare because you don’t care about the families.

“It is a caring profession. We would do anything for our children to make sure they are fed and warm and will continue to do so for as long as it’s necessary.”

Marks Gate won a reward recently for ‘pushing the boundaries’ at the LEYF annual awards party.

Story by: iNews

18th birthday for a nursery in Suffolk

18th birthday for a nursery in Suffolk

Woodpeckers Private Nursery celebrated their 18th birthday with a party.

Opened by Deidre and Jeff Micklewright in 2001, the nursery has grown from providing care to just five children, to offering breakfast, after school and holiday clubs; extending rooms and renovating outside spaces; and adding a mud kitchen and a flock of chickens.

Woodpeckers Private Nursery has cared for over 2000 children since the day they opened and was one of the first nurseries in the area to introduce Forest Schools to children. They also collaborated with community wardens to teach children to respect their community and environment through litter picks.

The nursery also played a significant role in introducing intergenerational care in the community by organising crafts and music activities for residents of Devonshire House Care Home and the children.

Read more about the benefits of intergenerational care here.

All at Woodpeckers Private Nursery are seeing a bright future and want to continue to offer French lessons, ‘Cheeky Chimps Music’, and ‘Diddy Dance’, as well as planning to get a qualification in ‘Hygge’ in their setting.

“We love to hear from our children when they come back for a visit and tell their stories. We’ve often had former pupils coming on work experience placements. We’re very proud of the wonderful young adults they have become, and we feel privileged that we have played a part in their early lives,” said Deidre Micklewright to East Anglian Daily Times.

Original story by: East Anglian Daily Times

Top industry award for Jack and Jill Day Nursery in Wirral

Top industry award for Jack and Jill Day Nursery in Wirral

Jack and Jill Day Nursery and Pre-school won the ‘Best Staff Development’ award at the National Nursery Recognition Awards which took place in Leicester on 2nd February. The award recognises staff development in childcare settings.

The nursery opened its doors 11 years ago and now has six settings in the area, and makes staff development one of its priorities.

The nursery’s manager, Jo Williams, said to the Wirral Globe: “We are so proud that we have been recognised for our commitment to ensuring our children are cared for by qualified, quality professionals.

“The Best Staff Development Award is already having an impact, as applicants are recognising us as an employer who values their staff.

“Winning this prestigious national award has also further reinforced our excellent reputation within the industry.”

Lais Cattassini, the head of marketing at Recognise Media, the organiser of the awards ceremony, said to the Wirral Globe: “Jack and Jill Day Nursery and Pre-school has a strong commitment to staff development, making sure everyone working at the nursery is an expert in childcare.

“This is the sort of hard work we celebrated at the National Nursery Recognition Awards.”

Story by: Wirral Globe

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