What does it mean to be community owned and run? Mike Newman, chairman of the voluntary management committee, explains…
When my predecessor took over as chair of the voluntary management committee, in 2008, Playgroup operated just a few days a week, for two-hour sessions. The playgroup ran from Church House, a small communal building tucked away in the churchyard. As we were simply renting the space a few hours a week, all the toys and resources we owned had to be packed into a cupboard after each session. A small group of volunteer parents had to manage staff, meet legal obligations and fundraise continuously simply to keep the playgroup afloat.
However, the new role coincided with the offer of capital grant funding from Herts County Council, to groups who could prove that they were graduate-led, sustainable businesses with sufficient numbers of children and a solid business plan. We also needed to have identified a site for building on.
Unfortunately, we had none of these things…
So how did we get to this point? A purpose-built, early-years facility situated in the heart of the village, highly qualified staff, a secure financial footing. It has not been easy. It has involved huge amounts of volunteer time, effort and willpower. There is a wealth of knowledge and expertise in this village and it was offered without hesitation. We tapped into legal and financial expertise, early years building management, marketing and PR knowledge. Parents with teaching and childcare qualifications kept the setting open and ensured ongoing legal compliance when it looked doomed to closure. Perhaps most importantly, the head of Kimpton Primary School, Marion Stewart Smith, embraced the project and willingly gave up land for a Preschool building. Local groups, such as Monkeys, the May Festival Committee, the Kimpton Players, the Horse Show, to name but a few, supported us with donations.
In short, this project could not have been completed without the willingness of the people of this village to create, build and sustain this Preschool.
Why am I telling you this? I think it’s important that Kimpton parents know how lucky we are! I want you to know that when we ask you to support the occasional fundraising event or initiative, it is for the continued excellence and survival of this amazing facility, which has not been created overnight or without huge commitment and effort. Our predecessors had to fund raise endlessly just so their children could attend a modest packaway setting based in a Church hall.
Our Management Committee now consists of a range of current and past Preschool parents, whose skills include finance, facilities management, business, administration, fundraising and teaching to name but a few!
How you can help
- Join or support our fundraising subcommittee. Watch the social and fundraising page for details of when they meet and what they need.
- Attend the events or encourage friends and family to do the same.
- Give us your feedback and views at Parent Forums
- Sign up as a helper to cover things like lawn mowing and basic garden maintenance.
Anything that you can offer to support the Preschool will benefit both the children today and tomorrow. Thank you.