Wensum Trust partners with community group to open daycare in Wells

A new day care facility is opening in Wells, thanks to a collaboration between Wensum Trust and a community led group.

Little Gillies will open in the former Polka Day Care building, providing childcare places for children aged 0-3 in the local area.

Following the closure of Polka day care in the town last year, the Wensum Trust has been working together with Little Gillies and Norfolk County Council to become a replacement provider.

The council is investing £50,000 in the day care provision to improve the building for local children.

Daniel Thrower, CEO of the Wensum Trust, said: “We know how important childcare is to parents in Wells and the wider community so we’ve been really pleased to work with Little Gillies to get this day care facility in place for the new school year.

“Once we heard about the closure we worked with Norfolk County Council to acquire the building which is on the same site as Wells-Next-The-Sea Primary and Nursery School. At the same time, we heard about the aspirations of Little Gillies to set up their own childcare provision, however, they needed a building. It was the perfect opportunity for us to work together to bring back much needed child care in the town.”

The collaboration between Little Gillies and the Wensum Trust will also mean strong links between the day care provision and Wells-Next-The-Sea Primary and Nursery School.

Daniel added: “Children attending Little Gillies will now have the benefit of working in complete partnership with the nursery and primary school, offering parents and carers a seamless educational provision from birth, right through to the primary school and then on to Alderman Peel High School, which is also a Wensum Trust school.

“We are excited to be working with Little Gillies. They share our enthusiasm about childcare and we are delighted we have been able to make this possible for families across the Wells community.”

Helena Deakin set up Little Gillies. She said: “As a parent who used Polka Day Care I felt the loss of the nursery immediately and knew something needed to happen to set up a new facility. I have been working with a small group of people in Wells since January setting up a fantastic new place for our children to attend.

“Our main ambition is to set up a community led, sustainable safe space, for children to attend now and into the future. We have set up a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) as an independent charity run by a small group of trustees from the local community. We will oversee the running of Little Gillies and hope to employ local people to work there. We have been so lucky to work with the Wensum Trust, and with their support we hope to offer a fantastic setting that will stand the test of time.”

It’s hoped Little Gillies will open after Autumn half-term, subject to sign off by the Department for Education and Ofsted.

Norfolk County Council doesn’t provide childcare but has responsibility for ensuring there is enough childcare provision in the county.

Cllr Penny Carpenter, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “The opening of this nursery is brilliant news for parents in the Wells area and I am pleased that we have been able to offer financial and practical support to the Wensum Trust and Little Gillies.

“From personal experience I know that nurseries are a lifeline to many parents, supporting them to return to the workplace, knowing that their young children are being cared for. I could not have afforded a roof over my head without my local nursery taking care of my daughter when she was small.

“I wish Little Gillies and all of its children lots of happiness and success for the future. Good early education is really important in supporting our ambition for every child in Norfolk to flourish.”