For many years, families in Edale and the Hope Valley have wanted reliable full-day care and childcare that would enable parents to return to work knowing that their child would receive the best possible care.
In January 2020, a survey of parents was undertaken, which found that childcare for working parents was needed more than ever.
In February 2020, a group of local people, including some parents of young children, formed a Board of Trustees and applied to the Charity Commission to establish Edale Stepping Stones Nursery and Childcare Centre as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). This means any financial surplus is fully reinvested into ensuring your child has the best preparation for school and life.
From the start, the Trustees decided that their guiding principle would be one of whatever was developed had to be of high quality.
Caroline Jackson, Morgan Jackson and Kay Argyle offered the use of the Old Winery as premises. It is a beautiful building full of light, with a large private garden. The Trustees came together one cloudy day and set about clearing the overgrown bushes and builders rubble at the end of the garden and developed a magical space for children to explore and learn, including a space where they could grow their own vegetables and plants.
In April 2020 Naomi Compton, Head of Centre and Theresa Skillen, Deputy Head, gave up their previous posts and were appointed to develop Edale Stepping Stones, as a high quality Nursery and Childcare Centre, with an aim to open in September 2020.
This was a risky time to take on a new venture; a time of national lock-down because of a national pandemic causing huge disruptions to every aspect of life.
The Trustees kept their focus and with the amazing support of very many others in the village, the Centre turned from a dream to a reality. People offered their time to make equipment and sew individual sleeping bags, their expertise in developing the website, designing the prospectus and advising on health and safety, there have been generous offers of toys and books, positive links with the local primary schools and most of all enthusiasm and support.
We know that this Centre is surrounded by the care of the community and that people have contributed so generously because they too believe that every child is precious and deserves the very best we can offer.
Attending Edale Stepping Stones in this close knit community will be very special and to be treasured. It will give all children, whether they live in Edale or beyond, a secure base for their ‘way’ in life and experiences they will remember all their lives. Children will be encouraged and supported to ‘have a go’ and to fulfil their interests and aspirations, be that on the stage or in the horticultural show or participation in outdoor activities with the village primary school. Being a valued part of a supportive community is very precious and is an increasingly rare experience for children in this country. Children attending Edale Stepping Stones deserve no less.
After all, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.”