Old school solution for popular nursery
A NURSERY rated as 'outstanding' by inspectors has been given a new home thanks to the £430,000 redevelopment of a redundant school.
St Thomas's Nursery in Kidsgrove had been running from two separate locations – the Wade Centre and St Thomas's Primary School.
Now the two groups have been brought together under one roof after the former Wade School building, on The Avenue, was treated to a revamp.
The old school, which closed in 1997, has belonged to St Thomas's Church for more than a decade and has been in need of refurbishment for years.
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Two years ago the vicar of St Thomas's, the Reverend Iain Baker, asked his congregation of more than 150 top consider mounting a fundraising campaign.
Now the church-run nursery is celebrating after locals raised more than £80,000 to make the project a reality.
Charitable grants raised further funds to make up the £430,000 needed to complete the work, and the children have now moved in.
The Reverend Baker said: "We are thrilled that our nursery can move into new rooms, fully redeveloped for their use. "We are especially pleased that this means we can welcome more children into the nursery. It's fantastic that the church can serve Kidsgrove in this way."
The nursery itself contributed £111,000 to the cause, while further grants came from organisations including Staffordshire County Council and Kidsgrove Town Council.
Manager Celia Andrews, aged 47, has worked at the nursery for eight years.
She said: "The kids are really excited. They have kept an eye on the diggers.
"We want to be the heart of the community. My children came here. It's a very good quality service for local people.
"We are always well-staffed to make sure the children get the best care and education. We believe we have had our prayers answered."
Rev'd Baker said: "Our motto, 'learning for life with Jesus', is a big part of the nursery because that's what we believe in."
The refurbished building is made up of two new classrooms, toilets, an outside play area, reception and office.
The nursery achieved its 'outstanding' rating from OFSTED in 2011, when inspectors praised its 'skilled, considerate and dedicated' staff, who offer an 'outstanding level of care and education.'
The redevelopment is the first phase of a project to transform the whole building, which will soon see the remaining half of the school redeveloped into a new community hall and a catering kitchen.
Three-year-old Isabelle Stanway said: "I like my new nursery, it is bigger and brighter."