Lincolnshire Echo – Heighington Nursery villager’s victory

Villagers have clubbed together to help a teacher build a nursery for their community.

Dozens of children were left with nowhere to go when a pre-school in the Heighington’s Jubilee Hall closed, 18 months ago.

But now almost £20,000 has been generated from donations and fundraising efforts led by manager Sarah Turfrey.

The youngsters will be taught in the new premises from September.

Mrs Turfrey said even though the nursery is now facing a bright future, it has been quite a difficult journey.

“Initially, I was devastated,” she said.

“Where could we go? How would we fund it?”

“I’m so proud of what we have achieved. I’m absolutely over the moon.

“It’s a been a really, really hard road. But the support from staff, parents and the village has been brilliant.”

After the parish council told the nursery its 47 children could not use the community hall, there was limited funding and no site for a new classroom.

But an agreement with the Heighington Millfield Primary Academy, has seen the new school built on its land, in Mill Lane.

“I approached the village school and finally, last September, when they became an academy with more autonomy, they agreed we could go on their land,” said Mrs Turfrey.

“The nursery had just £15,000 in its coffers at the time, so not a lot to establish a credible building.

“I contacted a company called Portable Offices who agreed they could help with a refurbished unit.

“It is beautifully refurbished – immaculate, light, bright and warm, complete with baby toilets and small hand basins with a new fitted kitchen and new lighting, decorated throughout with new flooring and a cosy corner where a sofa now sits.”

Sponsored walks, charity auctions, quiz nights and other community events then followed.

Around £20,000 was raised, with some money donated by Mrs Turfrey herself.

Cash was also offered by North Kesteven District Council for a kitchen fit-out and utility payments.

However, during an eight-month planning process the authority advised more work was needed to reduce flood risk.

More fundraising then began and the nursery is in the process of raising an extra £8,000 to cover the extra costs.

The portable classroom was recently lifted into place by a crane to a cheering crowd of parents and children.

Joanne Garraghty, 37, has a daughter, Lily, 3, starting at the nursery in September.

“Lily calls it her new school – she’s so excited,” she said.

“It’s a big occasion for her older sister Evie because she’s starting at Millfield, but Lily is looking forward to it because she thinks she’s going to big school, too.

“It’s brilliant. The staff have tried so hard and they have tried to include the children in all their fundraising.

“It’s great to have a proper pre-school for the village.”

The school will cater for children aged between 2 and 4 years old.

* Source – Lincolnshire Echo

Lincolnshire Echo – Villager’s nursery victory

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