New era at nursery as couple take on the job

Lisa Lowes and Christian Balmer at Rainbow Day Nursery in Alnwick.
Lisa Lowes and Christian Balmer at Rainbow Day Nursery in Alnwick.

A husband and wife team have taken over the reigns at a long-running nursery, after its founder stepped down after nearly 25 years at the helm.

Christian and Phillippa Balmer last week replaced Lisa Lowes at Alnwick’s Rainbow Day Nursery, which is currently rated outstanding by Ofsted.

They are determined to build on the successful formula that Lisa has developed since launching in 1992.

And the Tynedale couple, who have two nurseries in Tyne and Wear and are opening a third in September, are relishing the chance of taking the centre, on Northumberland Street, to even greater heights.

Father-of-three Christian said: “This is something new for us. We have always taken on failing nurseries and turned them round, but this is already a good one, which we want to make even better.

“We will try to keep all the staff that we have got here, which helps make it a good nursery, including deputy manager Sally Lane, who has been here for two decades.

“The plan is to keep the best bits and then look at some of the other things we can bring up from Tyne and Wear, and vice versa.”

A number of changes are on the agenda, including renaming it Apple Blossom Day Nursery. The pair are also looking to implement a 7.30am start – instead of an 8am one – launch children’s cookery sessions and introduce a learning journal.

The take-over signals an end of an era for Lisa, who started Rainbow with one other person and four children in the early 90s in a prefab building in the centre of the town.

She moved to the current home in 2002 and leaves with nearly 20 staff and around 60 children on the books.

She said: “The time was right to step aside, but I have had a fabulous time and I have loved every minute, with lovely families, children and staff.”

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