New £1m pre-school building finally open

Left to right: Derren Jones (4), nursery manager Cathy Carley (50), Poppy Wicks (2) and Wanda Steward (36). ''Picture:  Malcolm Wells
Left to right: Derren Jones (4), nursery manager Cathy Carley (50), Poppy Wicks (2) and Wanda Steward (36). ''Picture: Malcolm Wells
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FOR nearly two decades, children at a city nursery were schooled in a temporary cabin but that has all changed after their new £1m home was finally unveiled.

The Parade Community Pre-school in Kipling Road, Hilsea, finally revealed its new, purpose-built home during an open day on Thursday.

Complete with seven development zones, a sensory garden, kitchen, children’s and disabled toilets in addition to a hearing loop, the building was packed to the brim with parents as children tried out the new facilities for the first time.

Manager of the pre-school Cathy Carley has been there for 17 years.

She said: ‘It’s been such a long wait but we are very pleased to finally have it open and ready.

‘It is a huge weight off our shoulders to know it is here.

‘It looks fantastic and you can just by the children’s faces how excited they are about it.’

The pre-school had previously been based in a cabin located in the grounds of Northern Parade Infant School but had to move to accommodate an expansion to increase school places.

Previously, the pre-school’s cabin would have accommodated 40 children but the new building allows them to take on 60.

Funding for the project came from Portsmouth City Council – which will own and lease the building to the pre-school – and the Department for Education.

Frank Jonas, ward councillor for Hilsea said: ‘It is amazing here as it is so well equipped and provides a great deal of tools for the children to learn with.

‘I would say it has been worth the wait and after seeing what the pre-school had before to what they’ve got now, it really shows that the money spent was worthwhile.’

Councillor Donna Jones, council leader and fellow ward member added: ‘Education and early years education has been the number one priority for the council over the last three years. This is a great example of the council’s desire to improve education.’