A nursery owner who set up her first nursery 30 years ago in a deprived area of Leicester has been awarded an OBE.
Now the managing director of Kiddycare Nurseries, Kala Patel was just 22 when she started her first nursery by converting office space with a bank loan and a £65 a week Enterprise Allowance.
After just a few months she had a long waiting list and was able to move into larger premises.
Ms Patel has grown the business into a group of five nurseries in areas of deprivation in the city, supporting the predominately Asian community, struggling families and children with special educational needs.
'I never expected to be awarded an OBE,' she said, after receiving the award at Buckingham Palace. 'It is really wonderful to be recognised for all the work I’ve done over the years with the children.
'This honour is about that commitment and I’m blown away by it. But I have to say, none of this could have happened without the support of my tremendously dedicated team, who always give their all.'
More than 100 people have received awards in the 2016 New Year Honours list for their work in education and children’s services, including early years workers, headteachers, teachers, foster carers, children’s social workers and those working in adoption.
NDNA trustee MBE
Tina Jones, the national chair for the National Day Nurseries Association in Wales, has received an MBE for her services to childcare and early learning.
Ms Jones set up Tiny Tots Day Nursery in Prestatyn in 1972 (pictured) with a £300 loan from her father. The nursery is now registered for 86 children and runs two out-of-school clubs.
As a volunteer, Ms Jones has supported the growth of NDNA Cymru to develop relationships with the Welsh government and care and the Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW), and represented the sector on groups and committees at national and local levels.
'I'm thrilled to bits and very proud to receive this honour and have to pay tribute to my loyal team, without whom Tiny Tots would not be what it is today,' she said. ' Some of my staff have been with me for over 20 years. We've had hundreds of lovely comments on social media from as far away as New Zealand.'
Others honoured for their services to education and children and families include an MBE for Sue Lewis, the co-founder of DELTA, a charity dedicated to supporting deaf children, following the natural aural approach.
A qualified teacher of the deaf, Ms Lewis has worked in the UK and internationally and published research to show how this approach can benefit children and their families.
Other New Year Honours recipients include:
David Lane, vice-president of PACEY, for services to childcare and social work.
Hugh Thornbery, chief executive, Adoption UK
Dr Patricia Mucavele, head of nutrition at the Children’s Food Trust
Vanessa Willms, director of Primary Education, Ark Schools
Kim Arrowsmith, manager, the Matchbox Day Nursery, Tower Hamlets
Dolores Bray-Ash, chair, Early Years Network, Tower Hamlets; vice-chair of governors, Charles Darwin School, Bromley