Nursery World Awards 2020 - Community Support

Friday, February 5, 2021

Rosebuds Preschool at Loughborough Community Centre, Brixton

When nationwide lockdown was announced in the UK in March, staff at Rosebuds Preschool predicted adverse consequences for many of their children. The local area had a high number of children under four living in households deemed to be at risk of issues including poor mental health, drug abuse and domestic violence.

Sure enough, during the first week of lockdown, cases of preschool families requiring support came in thick and fast, with issues including increased anxiety and stress, limited access to food and living essentials, an increase in living costs, and difficulties managing children’s learning needs, behaviour and SEN.

With families needing much more than a weekly ‘keep in touch’ phone call and a list of educational websites, the Rosebuds team devised a swift emergency crisis response project that relied on their strong existing relationships with families.

They set up a Happy Lunch and Play Project, a bespoke distribution of freshly prepared, nutritious lunches and exchangeable play resources to vulnerable children aged between two and 13 and their families, with no direct contact required.

In the first five weeks of lockdown alone, 127 children participated, of whom 49 were between two and four years old. Staff distributed 120 lunches and play packs to families by bicycle across a four-mile radius from the setting, three days a week, providing 1,422 lunches in total.

And the project provided more than just a meal. Staff made 15 supported referrals to the local authority for additional support and early help services for vulnerable families. For many children, staff were the only familiar faces children were seeing through lockdown outside their immediate family. The project was vital to the positive mental health and wellbeing of children and their relatives.

At a time when its vulnerable community needed additional support, the Rosebuds Preschool team stepped up, despite potential risk to themselves and their own families, with limited funds and resources.

With the only source of funding just covering the preschool’s salaries, the board of trustees sought help from local partners and undertook a mass fundraising campaign, including securing coverage in national media outlets.

As one of only four preschools remaining in the London borough of Lambeth, Rosebuds Preschool’s small team of just six people provided a frontline contribution to supporting its local community during the pandemic, rising to the challenge when its families were most in need of support.

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Fit N Fun Kids

Fit N Fun Kids has provided outreach support crèches for 19 years as an extension to its Ofsted-rated ‘Outstanding’ nursery in Falmouth. Among other work, it delivers the Young Mums Will Achieve project, providing activities and specialist support for vulnerable young parents aged between 14 and 24.

Its outreach support crèches are used for the Who Does Works programme, which is designed to support the most disadvantaged families in Cornwall.

This year-round provision targets parents in learning and support environments, and has helped a total of 850 families facing barriers to connecting or reconnecting with education and work.

FINALIST
Marcham Little Angels

CRITERION
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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