PCC helps make Brighton nursery safer
One of Brighton’s oldest nursery schools has launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise £20,000 to help revamp its playground and boost community play facilities.
My First Friends Nursery in Westdene has launched the appeal on crowdfunding site DonateMySchool, which has helped scores of schools around the UK raise funds for a variety of projects.
The nursery in Barn Rise currently part-shares its play area with the local community but wants to create a toddler friendly play area and re-site some play equipment into the adjoining playground so it can be used all day.
Brighton and Hove Council have agreed to help fund the playground redevelopment if the nursery also launches its own fundraising appeal.
The Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne OBE has kick-started the appeal by donating £1000, from her Community Safety Fund, to pay for security measures, which include proper fencing.
The nursery, which caters for children aged 16 months to 5 years old, celebrated its 50th birthday in March this year, receiving a letter of congratulations from the Queen to mark the event.
Originally founded by the Women’s Institute in 1969 to provide nursery facilities for local children, it has since served generations of children in the area including many vulnerable children.
The nursery is family-run and open for 50 weeks of the year to provide nursery care to the local community.
Nursery Deputy Manager Demita Harman said: "This is a real community nursery where some of the children who attend are the second or third generation from their families to come here. This nursery really means something to a lot of people in this area."
She explained that the equipment in the nursery playground was currently open to local children after 2pm but could be accessed all day if it was moved, leaving an exclusive area for the nursery during its 8am until 4pm opening period.
"It is one massive play area at the moment but if some of the equipment all the children want to play on was moved to the general play area and a separate toddler play area was created for the nursery, that would hopefully benefit everyone. Children from the community would not have to wait until 2pm to use the equipment they really want to play on.
"This can be a real problem in the holidays when local children want to use the current equipment all day but we are still open. There is plenty of space in the whole playground to create different areas so it makes sense to redesign the area to suit all the children who want to use it."
She explained that Brighton and Hove Council have also ruled that much of the current equipment needs replacing or renovating to meet safeguarding standards, adding:
"We estimate that we will need to raise £20,000 and the council will need to match fund this."
Following advice from Brighton & Hove Police, the fencing was a safety concern, not meeting the required Ofsted guidelines for safeguarding children in a public park. Safety is a top priority for the nursery and so they reached out to the PCC for funding.
Mrs Bourne said: "I am delighted to fund this project, which will ensure that the young children there have a safe and secure environment to play in. I know that this money makes a real difference to local people and neighbourhoods.
"My First Friend’s nursery is just one of hundreds of bids from organisations and community groups who are committed to making Sussex safer.”
Demita Harman said she hoped previous pupils, parents, friends and the wider community would back the appeal by donating and sharing far and wide.
"I know it’s a lot of money to raise but the nursery is a special place that has cared for many children in this community and will continue to do so.
"Splitting the play area will also mean that hundreds of children in the community will benefit from the playground in the future."
Richard Wood from DonateMySchool said: "Crowdfunding is an ideal way for schools and nurseries to fundraise because everyone in the community can help by donating and sharing the appeal page and the larger the crowd they grow, the more money they raise.
"My First Friends Nursery is clearly a long-standing and valuable resource in Brighton and they want to do something a little different by ensuring that not only the children at the nursery benefit from the play area but also all the children in the community. I very much hope the community will support them."
To donate to the appeal: https://donatemyschool.com/myfirstfriendsnursery
Richard Wood, DonateMySchool, on: 01225 312388
Demita Harman, My First Friends Nursery, on: 01273 541026