Reserve Forces opens its doors to nurseries

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With the UK's reserve forces set to double in size over the next six years, the Reserve Forces and Cadet Association is looking to boost its income by letting out space in its properties at competitive rates, targeting nurseries as potential occupants.

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It says all its premises are well-maintained, have at least a hall, a small kitchen, and a couple of classrooms. The sites are very secure, and most have some outdoor space, and also boast enhanced CRB checked staff.

With the exception of regimental HQs these premises are generally used by cadets in the evenings and weekends, and occasionally during school holidays, which is why they could fit well with the hours that nurseries need to operate.

Lettings are administered by Alternative Venues, the lettings arm of the RFCA, which is a non-profit organisation.  Funds generated from lettings are used for maintenance of the buildings, payment of the caretaking staff, and a proportion used to benefit the local reserve unit.

Abigail Bunney, who handles marketing for Alternative Venues, says, ‘This lettings process has been built upon over the last few years, but we are now actively marketing the properties.

‘Historically the centres were built with good access in order to entice the troops to join! Nowadays these properties are in prime locations, usually with good transport links, and they are particularly suitable for re-schools operating within term times from early morning to late afternoon.  There are a large number of properties with the M25 with the best available sites currently in Cobham, Dulwich, Sidcup, Finchley, Twickenham, Hackney and Wandsworth – to name but a few!’

Beverly Delfgou, who owns the Kensington Kindergarten, has rented space from Alternative Venues for two years, and says that the arrangement works very well. ‘We rent space between 8.30am and 4pm and have 56 children here for our morning sessions,’ she says. ‘The rooms are spacious and include the use of a very large hall. The building is secure and well maintained and there is always someone to talk to if there is a problem.’

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