Childcare on tap

Childcare on tap


Essential day care for children in Northumberland is to continue thanks to an accommodating regional business.

Belsay Day Care, which provides pre and after school care and education for children aged between two-and-a-half and 13, faced the threat of closure due to run-down and insufficient facilities, until Northumbrian Water intervened and donated a large portacabin.

Reporters and photographers are invited to a celebration coffee morning to be held at Belsay Day Care centre, located in the grounds of Belsay First School, Belsay, Newcastle, NE20 0ET on Wednesday 14 November 2012 at 10.30am. Richard and Anthony Irving and Verity Shepley will be available for interview.

Richard Irving, who has worked for the water company for ten years, and his wife both work full time and rely on the Day Care centre to look after their six-year-old son, Anthony, before and after school. Their daughter, Jenny, who is three will also use the centre’s services next year when she begins school.

On finding out about the centre’s threat of closure, Richard approached his employer to see if they could help out. Northumbrian Water agreed to donate the 120-square-foot portacabin which they no longer needed and is double the size of the previous dilapidated portacabin which housed the Day Care centre.

The centre, which is a registered charity and was established in 1997 by a group of parents, supports more than 30 families from Belsay and the surrounding areas, and more than 60 children enjoy activities including painting, baking, crafts, football, cricket and nature activities.

Richard, who lives in Kirkheaton, said: "I am so grateful to Northumbrian Water for donating the portacabin as not having Belsay Day Care centre would make the lives of so many families quite difficult. The passion and enthusiasm of the parent management committee and all of the centre’s staff is to be admired.

"By attending the centre Anthony’s confidence and independence has grown. The centre provides so much more than just child care, it provides a stimulating environment for children to develop their skills, have fun and make new friends – all of which will benefit them in years to come."

Chairman of Belsay Day Care’s volunteer parent management committee, Verity Shepley, said: "I am so grateful to Northumbrian Water and to every business, parent and charity who helped us ensure the children taken into our care have a wonderful place to play, learn and grow. We have achieved so much since embarking on our replacement building project 18 months ago, when we first began exploring the planning and funding implications of a new building.

"We received the portacabin just four months ago as the school summer holidays began and to see it now fully equipped and functional is remarkable. Our fundraising had to cover installation, foundations, electrics and plumbing, all of which has been paid for through hard work and time-consuming grant applications and fundraising by staff, parents and our wider community. Most of the internal fittings and much of the labour has been provided by generous parents."

As well as plenty of space for the children, the renovated portacabin houses an office, kitchen, store room and three toilets – one with disabled access.

More information about the centre is available by logging onto

For further information contact Cara Charlton, from Northumbrian Water, on 0191 301 6720 or Verity Shepley, Belsay Day Care centre, on 07767 052 926.

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