Mayor officially opens Parkgate Pre-School
|Author: Carrie Spacey||Published: 11th March 2011 11:00|
A celebration took place at Parkgate Pre-School this week, as their brand new premises were declared officially open by the Mayor of Neston.
(l-r) Jenny Green, Cheryl Gardner, Cllr David Clark, Pauline Mellor,
Sharon Thompson and pre-school pupil Maisie Ratcliffe
Cllr David Clark joined pupils, staff, volunteers and other invited guests for a sumptuous afternoon tea, and to hear the Parkgate Pre-School Voluntary Management Committee acknowledge and thank the numerous individuals and organisations who have given their support for the project.
The pre-school had been running for some 16 years from a classroom within Parkgate Primary School. Due to increased intake in the school over recent years, the classroom had to reclaimed, which prompted a search for alternative premises.
Following a fruitless search for a suitable venue in the Parkgate area, School Site Manager, Mr Allan Mayer, came up with the idea to construct a building within the grounds of the School itself. Plans were drawn up and taken to Cheshire West and Chester Council for funding and planning permission. Under existing rules, the Council were unable to fund the construction directly, but were able to point the newly formed Voluntary Management Committee in the direction of several grants. The Committee also threw themselves into a huge fundraising effort, which was given tremendous support by CWaC, Parkgate Primary School and PTA, Neston Town Council, local businesses and the local community.
Allan Mayers is given a special thank you by Jenny Green
With time constraints adding pressure, the Committee knew that despite all best efforts, they would not be able to raise sufficient funds to pay tradesmen to carry out all the work. Once again, Mr Mayer offered his support - giving up his free time to lay foundations, build and decorate the new building.
He in turn was given a great deal of support from parents, grandparents, other relatives and many friends, who freely gave their time and expertise to the project. Sainsbury's also lent a hand - with a joiner and plumber being seconded from the bulding of the new Neston store for a final push before Christmas.
Work had begun in July, but by September, with the building a long way from completion, the pre-school needed a temporary new home. They rented accomodation at the newly-renovated St Thomas' Church in Parkgate, with Neston Town Council stepping in to offer much-needed funding to tide them over until the new building was ready.
Finally, in 31st January 2011, the new building was ready to welcome the children to their new 'home.'
Committee member Cheryl Gardner said: "The present Government are very keen on the Big Society concept, and this project certainly gave power to our community, encouraged people to take an active role.
"As a result, we have provided the Parkgate and Neston community with a pre-school which will serve many future generations."
At the event this week, pupils thanked everyone in their own inimitable way - with a song written especially for the occasion. Mrs Jenny Green, Committee member and teacher at Parkgate Primary said: "We originally hoped to celebrate the opening with strawberries and cream last September; then it was to be minced pies and Christmas and now, here we are with afternoon tea in March!
"We need to give a very special thank you to Mr Mayers, whose original idea it was to build our own venue, and who has driven the project from day one, finding volunteers and materials and giving so much of his own time."
Chair of the Committee, Pauline Mellor, also thanked a number of other volunteers for their significant contributions.
A cake created by Committee member Lynne James of Cakes & Celebrations, was cut by the Mayor, who said: "I thoroughly enjoyed the children's singing, marking the opening of this wonderful pre-school building.
"This has truly been a great example of a community working together."
He was then joined by Committee members and pupils for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, marking the end of months of hard work and determination, and the beginning of a new era for this remarkable community asset.
More information: Parkgate Pre-School.
All photographs are © Linda Pelling Photography.