A ‘passionate, compassionate and inspirational’ day nursery in Chester has been named the best in the country at a national award ceremony.
Smarties Smartcare Ltd, which is funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council, is the ‘Nursery of the Year’ overall winner for the UK – announced at the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) annual conference and awards evening, which acknowledged success and excellence across the nursery sector.
The council works in partnership with Chester NDNA group to support settings and ensure there are sufficient childcare places for families.
Annie Silcock of Smarties Smartcare Ltd said: “We are absolutely ecstatic.
“Smarties is one big family and I feel like a proud parent. We have been an Ofsted outstanding setting for the last 20 years but this is the pinnacle of the journey so far.
“It is wonderful that the dedication and hard work of our staff has been recognised from apprentices to members of staff who have been with us for the whole 30 years.
“Thank you to all the parents who voted for us and to the judges who recognised and commented on our passion, compassion and inspirational environment.”
Nikki Edge, a parent of the children at the nursery, said: “My eldest son was at Smarties three years before Ethan who now attends and I’ve noticed the level of investment in each room – new furniture, different layouts, more technology, books, toys and more play equipment.
“This is a nursery that doesn’t stand still – it continually evaluates and improves. When Ethan leaves to go to school in September, I will seriously be emotional.
“Annie and her team of lovely staff have made a huge difference to my family and truly deserve the recognition of this award.”
Cllr Nicole Meardon, CWAC cabinet member for children and young people, added: “The council supports many wonderful nurseries by providing essential funding for childcare places.
“We focus on ensuring children in the borough continue to receive a high standard of care from dedicated and talented teams of staff.
“This award is recognition of the excellent work going on at Smarties Smartcare Ltd in Chester to ensure children are able to progress physically and emotionally to a stage where they are able to thrive in a mainstream schooling setting.”
Purnima Tanuku OBE, chief executive of NDNA, commented: “The judging process across all the awards was tough this year given the excellent candidates but shining testimonials from those closest to the children in these settings helped to decide the overall winners.
“These awards were thoroughly deserved and I am absolutely delighted for all those involved.”