A state-of-the-art nursery has opened on the single largest development in Bedfordshire to meet a growing need for local families.
Dawn until Dusk is running the site which has the capacity for 40 pre-school children and youngsters up to the age of 12 attending its breakfast, after-school and holiday clubs next door to Lakeview School at Wixams.
Bedford Borough Council secured matched funding from the Department for Education for the nursery after successfully completing negotiations with property development and investment company Gallagher Estates, which has been the master developer at Wixams, to acquire the nursery site.
Dawn until Dusk has been graded Outstanding by Ofsted 15 times to date within its early years settings in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.
Ten staff have been employed for the pre-school at the site at Wixams who are overseen by a professional leader with qualified teacher status.
Alison Davies, director at Dawn until Dusk, said this was a much-needed facility for children primarily from the Wixams villages.
She said: “There is no other provision like this on Wixams which is a development that is growing all the time as houses are built and families move in.
“There are many young families in Wixams who need childcare and parents were driving 30 minutes or an hour away every day to drop their children off at nurseries.
“The local school offers 15 hours of childcare but if you work full-time there was nothing else available and we are providing high-quality childcare all day 51 weeks of the year.”
Tracy Hutton, director at Dawn until Dusk, added: “The children have settled in really well and we are providing a modern, innovative, state-of-the-art learning environment which involves using the ever-changing outdoors as part of their learning.
“Our aim is to work in partnership with Cygnets Nursery, Lakeview School and local childminders to help the children become strong, independent learners.”
Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford Borough, said: “These high-quality premises are enabling vital new nursery provision for the growing community of Wixams. We were pleased to secure the matched funding for construction of the site, at which the nursery and other care will be provided for current and future generations of children in Wixams.”
Cllr Henry Vann, Portfolio Holder for Education at Bedford Borough Council, said: “We are delighted with this new nursery facility and it is another clear demonstration of our on-going commitment to provide high quality provision for children of all ages living in Bedford Borough.”
Kirk Sharp, Director of Chichele Consulting, said that this was another highly successful development by Bedford Borough using their delivery partners of Kier Construction and Pick Everard Ltd.
Gregg Wilkinson, managing director of Gallagher Estates which is part of the L&Q Group, said a site for a day nursery in Village One, called Lakeside, had been identified as part of the original planning permission.
“The original plan was for the land for a day nursery to be sold to a private operator but no commercial operator was identified,” he said.
“In the meantime, Bedford Borough Council secured funding for a council-operated day nursery and approached us about acquiring the site in Village One.
“As part of wider discussions regarding amendments to the overall Section 106 agreement, we agreed to gift the site to the council to enable them to secure the funding to deliver the day nursery.
“It is great to see all the smiling, happy faces of the children attending the nursery and there is no doubt Dawn until Dusk is running a much-needed facility.”