Nursery World Awards 2022 – Community Support

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Cherubs Nurseries wanted to become a bigger part of the communities it serves to ensure everyone can benefit from its work and give back to local people.

All nurseries participate in regular events planned by their Community Life Champion and supported by the team throughout the year.

Weekly visits to residential homes allow children to spend time with residents, who reciprocated before the pandemic, by attending afternoon teas at the facilities. Even during the pandemic, nurseries managed to stay in touch via Zoom and children delivered Christmas cards. The bonds that are formed during these visits enhance children’s time in the nursery, and staff observe the development of social skills as children learn a new language and are exposed to a range of new experiences. Meanwhile, residents look forward to visits and enjoy interacting with children and participating in activities.

Facilities also participate in regular community cleanups, providing experiential learning that will help children grow up understanding how to care for the world around them.

Throughout the year, nurseries raise funds for various charities, and parents and staff designate a charity partner as the focus of effort for that year. With the support of staff, parents and families, Cherubs has donated over £60,000 to causes including Rainbows Children’s Hospice, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance, Theodora Children’s Charity and YoungMinds Mental Health Charity.

More recently, the nurseries have held events such as bingo, baking and Easter egg hunts to raise money for this year’s charity partner, Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid. Staff have also worked hard to raise awareness about domestic violence and let staff and parents know that nurseries are safe spaces. Earlier this year, all staff completed J9 training which aims to raise awareness of domestic violence and help survivors access support safely by training professionals and community members to recognize domestic violence and respond to survivors.

Every year, as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Cherubs organizes a donation campaign to support the mental health charity Mind. Staff and parents are encouraged to donate second-hand clothes or small household items that can have a second life, and the crèche collects around 200 bags a year. The nurseries also collect food and supplies for local food banks and soup kitchens each Christmas.

Community support has been developed and carefully integrated into nursery practice since 2017. Staff and families always look forward to the next event, which is shared on the dedicated nursery board.

STRONGLY RECOMMENDED

Traquinas Nursery, Norfolk

Traquinas staff take pride in raising funds for charity and helping families. A clothing bank and food bank have been set up during the pandemic, available outside of the setting.

The executive also made a donation to Ukraine, collecting items such as toiletries, clothes and shoes from parents, as well as four beds the nursery no longer needs. Staff sorted the donations and a local man agreed to transport the collection to Ukraine.

The staff offers fundraising ideas, from Easter and Christmas photo shoots to bake sales and walks. All the money raised goes to charities that the parents have been able to use, such as local hospices. The nursery has also raised funds to provide parents staying in the local hospital’s pediatric ward with bags full of essentials like phone chargers and toothpaste.

FINALISTS

GNG Nursery, Smethwick

St Aubin Roath, Cardiff

CRITERIA

Open to early years settings and services that have involved staff, parents and children in projects to support charities or the local/wider community.

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