Happy faces as children enjoy stories and song and celebrate official opening of ‘eco-friendly’ Southsea nursery with help from city MP

LITTLE ones enjoyed dancing and storytelling as their Portsmouth nursery celebrated its official opening - after two years of Covid delays.

Saturday, 23rd April 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Sunday, 24th April 2022, 10:53 am

Tops Day Nursery in Southsea today welcomed a number of special guests to its official opening event, including Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South, who was invited to cut the ribbon.

Although the Bruce Road nursery took over from the Stepping Stones nursery two years ago, the coronavirus pandemic meant that the opening ceremony had to be postponed.

Now with restrictions over, staff have finally been able to celebrate the nursery - which has about 20 team members caring for more than 100 children.

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Stephen Morgan MP officially opened Tops Day Nurseries Southsea in Bruce Road on Friday, April 22. Picture: Sarah Standing (220422-2086)

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Deputy manager Emily Callen, 23, joined the team in December after moving to Southsea from Chichester.

She said: ‘Now that the restrictions have been lifted, we thought it was time to hold an official ceremony.

‘The opening was really successful - Cheryl [Hadland, nursery owner] was really happy as well.’

Author and illustrator Neal Layton with (l-r) Carson France (3), William Taylor (3), Jasmai Hodnett (3) and her sister Marlie Hodnett (2). Picture: Sarah Standing (220422-2070)

The nursery welcomed author and illustrator Neal Layton to do a book reading, as well as showcasing a performance by some of the children who attend the nursery, and a ‘Boogie Mites’ dancing session.

Emily added: ‘The children really enjoyed it, particularly the Boogie Mites and the stories.

‘They were a little taken aback at first because we haven’t had many visitors due to Covid, but it was really positive to see them performing so well with lots of new faces.’

From left: Stephen Morgan MP, Claire McQuilken, maternity cover manager, Emily Callen, deputy manager and Cheryl Hadland, founder and managing director of Tops Day Nurseries with children (l-r) William Taylor (3), Jasmai Hodnett (3), Marlie Hodnett (2) and Carson France (3). Picture: Sarah Standing (220422-2126)

The Southsea nursery is part of the chain of Tops Day Nurseries located across the South and Southwest.

It provides early education and care for children aged three months to school age, as well as providing a Hi 5s after school club and holiday club service for school children up to eight years old.

Speaking after the official opening event, Cheryl said: ‘I am delighted Stephen Morgan has been to re-open and tour our Tops Day Nursery in Bruce Road, Southsea, and was also able to celebrate our Queens Award for sustainability with us.

“Collaboration is an important part of sustainability so it was lovely to have local writer Neal Leyton read his Planet full of Plastic, local music makers Boogie Mites teach us their new sustainability song, and our LGBTQ+ leader Simon King and manager at Tops QA come to celebrate with us as well.

Stephen added: ‘Cheryl and her team have done a fantastic job here, and it was really useful to speak to them about plans for the future, issues they face and of course congratulate them on their latest award.

‘With the cost-of-living crisis, many nurseries and childcare providers are facing real financial challenges and parents with small children feeling the pinch in their pockets.

‘That’s why I will continue to speak up for local families and the early years sector in Parliament to ensure every child in Portsmouth is able to access a high-quality early education.’

Tops Southsea is trialling a ‘Nappy Pilot’ in an additional step to becoming one of the UK’s most eco-sustainable childcare provider

Emily said: ‘What I am most proud of is how eco-friendly we are and how sustainable our practice is.

‘We use reusable nappies for the children, we make our own wet wipes that are biodegradable and all natural, all our delivery vans are electric.’