Cheryl Hadland, founder of Portsmouth-based Tops Day Nurseries, said she was thrilled at scooping The Queen’s Award for Enterprise this year.
The accolade is awarded to Britain’s very best businesses, with only a handful of companies across the south-east scooping the title.
Cheryl was blown away by the award and said it helped make all the team’s hard work during the coronavirus crisis worth it.
She added: ‘We are truly delighted and proud to achieve this award, despite suffering the crippling impact of covid, and even worse, the under-funding of early years provision in this country in recent years.
‘Nursery colleagues and parents are paying the price of the under-funding from their own pockets, despite early years being one of the best investments anyone could make.
‘Early years educators provide the foundations for today’s children to be able to run the country tomorrow, and we believe that an essential part of that is showing our empathy and respect for our environment and all people, animals and plants within it, showing the best example we can for our children to follow.’
The nursery chain has been operating since 1990 and has 32 sites across the south coast, including the Copnor, Lakeside, and Southsea nurseries.
This is the first time the company has received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, with judges celebrating the firm’s ‘outstanding achievement in sustainable development’.
They become one of 226 organisations to be nationally recognised and may use the Queen’s Award’s emblem for the next five years.
Speaking of her award success, a proud Cheryl added: ‘We welcome this award to celebrate what we have achieved so far, but also to encourage us to continue our sustainability journey and to encourage more nurseries, parents, businesses, and schools to join us in trying to safeguard our children’s future health and happiness.’
The Queen’s Award is now in its 56th year and is hailed as the most prestigious business accolade a company can receive.