The History of the Canterbury Day Nursery, Holiday Play scheme & After School Club.

The Holiday Playscheme first started in 1974 and we hired St Dunstans Hall, we had 4 children to start with but that did not cover our costs.

The next holiday we hired the Baptist Church Hall and I must say it was a great success with thirty children attending it was run by 3 staff Gwen, Jenie & Carol.

From the success of the Playscheme came a plea from parents with young children to open a day nursery for 2 – 5 year olds. We asked the Baptist Church if we could use the facilities to run a Nursery in their basement rooms and this started in 1977.

A Committee was formed to manage the group and Dorothy who was a member of the Pre School Playgroups Association managed to get a constitution from them which was adopted. The playscheme meanwhile had moved to various venue’s including the Riverside Youth Club, Sea Cadets Hall in Puckle Lane.

It had been a struggle to find premises for both the Nursery & Holiday Playscheme Alf Gammon our then President, Gwen our Secretary and myself went everywhere to find premises we were called “three Musketeers”. It ended when Uncle Alf heard that Havelock Street was vacant and it was owned by the Education Department. We went to make enquires and the gentleman was called Andrew Bubb a cousin of mine! After a lot of enquires with various people they said yes we could have the front room (the now baby room), and the Garden.

As you will see from some of the pictures around we needed to do a lot of work to make it work as a nursery. Painting, putting up partitions, making toilets and a kitchen, scrubbing floors just to mention a few.

We moved into the building in 1991, but in despair as we only had 8 children because in our last week at the Baptist Church one of the children had Hepatitis and we had to close down which meant children went else where.

However, it didn’t take long to pick up again and with hard work and a loan from two very good friends Mr & Mrs Harmer we were soon thriving again.

In 1982 Gwen Sharp our secretary approached Joanna Lumley who agreed to become our Patron. She came down to open the After School Club, plus we were moving the Holiday Playscheme into the Payne Smith School Annex, which was much more convenient as the numbers were increasing rapidly.

In 1989 a football team was set up by Howard Pearce it was called Havelock Hammers this was quite a good success and became a charity in its own right.

In 1990 a financial crisis had to be faced. Our rent went up, the children’s act meant more outlay for premises to be brought up to their specifications and more staff training. Plus the government brought in the policy to encourage schools to set up nursery classes for rising 5’s.

In 1991 The Playscheme & After School Club moved into the Havelock Street premises in the other half of the building. There was a huge amount of work to be done to make the room habitable for the after school club and most of this work was done by our late President Alf Gammon, plus volunteers and some Prisoners from Canterbury prison.

In 1992 we opened the Baby Room for children from 3 months. Yet again we were doing alterations to the building to comply with requirements from KCC.

In 1993 our Lease was transferred from KCC to Christchurch University.

1994 we had a celebration lunch for our 20th Anniversary, this was attended by Joanna Lumley and we received our Accreditation from the Pre-school Playgroup Association.

1n 1995 our dear President Alf Gammon sadly passed away. And the 2-3 year olds moved into their own room.

In 1996 Keith Barber was appointed President.

In 1998 I retired and became the Honorary Life President.

In 1999 the Garden was redesigned, the floors covered with safety surfacing and purpose built play equipment erected.

In 2000 Sliding Screen Partitions were put in between the After School Club and Butterflies Room to enable us to open these during events.

In 2002 We were re accredited by the Pre School Learning Alliance and Joanna Lumley came down to accept the certificate on our behalf.

In 2004, we held a summer fete and anniversary reception to commemorate our 30th Anniversary. Joanna Lumley was in attendance and a bench for Alf Gammon and Joanna Lumley were unveiled in the garden.

In 2005 the Nursery was accredited by “Investors in Children”.

In 2006 Christchurch University put a new roof on our building.

In 2007 we had patio doors put into the Butterflies and Caterpillars rooms leading out to the gardens.

In 2008 the Nursery had its first website set up,

In 2009 discussions with Christchurch started to take place regarding the end of our Lease.

In 2010 with the help of Steph Harvey who was a KCC Development Officer at the time we managed to secure a Capital Grant from KCC to purchase the building from Christchurch University. The kitchen was refurbished and all new stainless steel units purchased, redecorated, flooring etc. On the 18th April 2013 we had a major flood in one half of the building and had to close for 2 days.

With the money we had been raising for a long time, we were able to renovate our building and this all started on the 8th May 2013, the major outside renovations on our building and in June the inside renovations started and are ongoing.

In 2014 we have had all the toilets renovated and reopened the Ladybirds room as term time only provision.