We are five local parents who took the initiative to set up a community interest company to keep the service of two nurseries open to children and families, after East Sussex County Council announced their closure by the end of the year. Our own children had experienced the wonderful care these nurseries provided and we felt strongly that all children should be given the same opportunities. Our two nurseries will be in the same premises as the council nurseries due to shut but run by the community for the community. Many working families would be unable to access childcare as cost of childcare set by other providers in the area are unaffordable for most families, and there are very limited and highly competitive nursery school spaces. This means most parents would be unable to work, children missing out on vital personal and social development and vulnerable families potentially becoming more vulnerable.
We believe that these community nurseries are vital for Covid-19 recovery in order to support families back into work and ensuring that children receive the best possible start in life. EPPE report 2014 shows that those children who have attended high quality early years settings, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to achieve at school due to better intellectual and social/behavioural development. Further, we are passionate about retaining employment opportunities for the existing, outstanding staff team. During the Covid-19 pandemic many nurseries closed their doors, we would commit to staying open in any future lockdown and supporting all families in our community to continue in their keyworker roles.
* To ensure that high quality and affordable Childcare remains in Bexhill, particularly for low income families.
* To ensure that childcare meets the needs of parents who work. Therefore, provision will be offered at least 8am- 6pm for 49 weeks of the year.
* To ensure that within the Nurseries collective budget there is a contingency for staff shortage, maternity leave and quieter periods when children transition into school. Further, this will include ongoing maintenance costs.
* That staff will provide understanding and support parents to on their parenting journey.
* To be a trusted employer of high-quality staff, empowering them to excel in all their potential.
* To ensure that the Outstanding facilities are fully utilised to support the wider community by setting up a training school for Early Years Educators. This will also support local people back into employment
In addition we would love to provide groups and classes ranging from breastfeeding support to money handling to healthy eating. These are services that have been systematically cut from local budgets resulting in there being no parent and child groups run by the statutory services in our area. We feel we could provide these services to support families that need them.
Who we are:
Heather Winchester is an Early Years Professional and has been working in Early Years for over 20 years. She has a Degree in Early years Leadership and achieved Early Years Professional Status. Heather is the current Nursery Coordinator and therefore has good understanding of the finances, policies and procedures of the setting. She is passionate in providing Outstanding Care and Education, and this is evident in receiving five consecutive Outstanding Ofsted inspections in her time with East Sussex County Council. Previous to this, Heather has consistently worked in areas of high deprivation and has a proven record of vastly improving outcomes for children. Heather is passionate about training practitioners to a high standard, and would love to set up a training centre in order to train Early Years Educators, not just for Rainbow and Cygnets but other early years providers.
Ollie Jeffs is a local community leader, with a heart for empowering people and communities. He has a degree in BSc Management and is the CEO of a growing, local charity in Bexhill called The Pelham. His experiences include team leadership, project management, grant funding, financial planning and strategic decision making. As well as working in the non-profit sector, he has gained business experience in launching his own drinks company, We Made Drinks, with friends from University, up until 2020. Other experiences include being a trustee of Rother Voluntary Action, leading a community project in Uganda for the last 10 years and being on the management committee of his local football club for the last decade. He also has two young children that have experienced the nurturing and encouraging environment at Rainbows Nursery from an early age. His hope is that many more families will benefit from these two outstanding nurseries in years to come.
Ena Osula is a mental health and community health inspector working with the care quality commission for the last three years. Ena currently manages the relationship between CQC and 12 health care providers across Surrey, Kent and Medway including a very large Community Interest Company. Ena is responsible for ensuring people receive care that is safe, effective, and compassionate; and that people who use these services are protected from harm and abuse at all times. As a biomedical science graduate by background, Ena is analytical and sees the bigger picture. Ena has a good understanding of how an efficient and effective service should operate from experience of having regular engagements and attending board meetings. Ena is passionate about children receiving the best education and care from an early age, which is a good indicator of a healthy and well-functioning society, and having two outstanding nurseries within Bexhill Community is worth celebrating, protecting and promoting at all cost.
Nikki Collins is an outreach coordinator for the University of Brighton which focuses on working with pupils from deprived areas to aim higher and reach their potential. With a BEd in Primary Education that gained her Qualified Teacher Status, further education as an Early Years Practitioner and specialising in special needs methods and practices, Nikki is passionate and well versed in the need for early education for long term development. Before taking on her current role, Nikki worked in sales and marketing as an award winning Wedding and events manager. This role involved working on budgets, sales targets and marketing a brand that was widely recognised. Outside of working hours, Nikki is a partner on the Big Local- Heart of Sidley and a voted member of Glenleigh Park Primary Academy’s PTA. Both of these roles involve volunteering her time to work with others to raise money or make decisions on where funded money should be invested. As a Mother of two, and both children having experiences the Outstanding care from Rainbow Nursery, Nikki is empowered to ensure her daughter and all other 2021 school starters, receive the transition to EYFS they deserve.
Emily Bowler has worked in healthcare for twenty years as a registered occupational therapist and for the past ten years has worked in the charitable sector. She has a wealth of experience in setting up and running clinical services as well as experience in people management, service development and budget setting. A keen interest in education, in addition to her degree, she has a post graduate certificate in practice based education and has designed and taught on many adult education programmes in and out of her workplace. A working mum of two young children, she is well aware of the importance of high quality, affordable childcare and is passionate about ensuring these services are maintained in her local area
Where would the money go?
All monies raised will go towards achieving this vision, paying rent on the buildings, staff salaries, and equipment. We are a not-for-profit organisation so we will not take any money for ourselves. All monies raised will be reinvested into these nurseries.