To ensure it can cater for the increasing demand for childcare in Felton, a nursery has moved to a new home on the site of the village school.
Lucy Grieve set up Pumpkin Pie Childcare in 2011 and the service has since achieved two outstanding ratings from Ofsted.
But she found that despite employing three assistants and caring for 30 children from nine months to eight years old, she was still turning people away from her childcare provision at her home in the village.
Now, children will be cared for before and after school in a purposely-redeveloped space in the grounds of Felton CofE First School. This is regardless of the ongoing reorganisation proposals, which could see the first school become a primary school.
Lucy, who now employs five members of staff, said: “With the increase in families moving to the area, we were turning children away as we had no more space.
“This prompted me to meet with the head at Felton C of E First School in July and we agreed that by moving up to the school, we could convert a building that wasn’t currently being used and subsequently offer more places for children who needed full-time nursery care, wrap-around care and before and after-school care for the children at the school.”
There is currently a nationwide push to make more childcare spaces available and it is proposed to increase the number of hours that three and four-year-olds receive for free from 15 hours to 30 hours per week from 2016.
Suzanne Connolly, headteacher at Felton CofE First School, said: “We are delighted that we can extend the use of our school to benefit the community as a whole.
“Everyone is looking forward to welcoming Lucy, her staff and parents at Pumpkin Pie to our school family and we are very excited about being able to work together to provide the best possible opportunities for children.”
For more information about the facility, visit the website – www.pumpkinpiechildcare.co.uk