ESSENTIAL day care for children in a county village will continue thanks to a generous donation and successful fund-raising campaign.
The service in Belsay, which looks after and educates children aged between two-and-a-half and 13 before and after school, faced the threat of closure due to run-down and insufficient facilities until Northumbrian Water intervened by giving it a large portable cabin.
Richard Irving, who has worked for the water company for 10 years, and his wife both work full-time and they rely on Belsay Day Care to watch over and support their six-year-old son Anthony.
Their daughter Jenny, who is three, will also use the centre’s services next year when she begins school.
When Mr Irving found out that the worsening condition of the charity’s portable cabin meant it was in danger of shutting down, he approached his employer to see if it could help out.
Northumbrian Water agreed to donate a 120 sq ft facility that it no longer needed, which is double the size of the previous one.
The Kirkheaton resident said: “I am so grateful to the company for donating the portable cabin as not having the Belsay Day Care centre would make the lives of so many families quite difficult.
“The passion and enthusiasm of the parent management committee and all of the centre’s staff is to be admired.
“By attending the centre, Anthony’s confidence and independence has grown. It provides so much more than just childcare, it also offers a stimulating environment for children to develop their skills, have fun and make new friends – all of which will benefit them in years to come.”
The centre, which was established in 1997 by a group of parents, supports more than 30 families from Belsay and its surrounding hamlets and more than 60 children enjoy activities including painting, baking, crafts, football, cricket and exploring nature.
Chairman of Belsay Day Care’s volunteer parent management committee, Verity Shepley, said: “I am so grateful to Northumbrian Water and to every business, parent and charity who helped us ensure the children taken into our care have a wonderful place to play, learn and grow.
“We have achieved so much since embarking on our replacement building project 18 months ago, when we first began exploring the planning and funding implications of a new building.
“We received the portable cabin just four months ago as the school summer holidays began and to see it now fully equipped and functional is remarkable.
“Our fund-raising had to cover installation, foundations, electrics and plumbing, all of which has been paid for through hard work and time-consuming grant applications and fundraising by staff, parents and our wider community. Most of the internal fittings and much of the labour has been provided by generous parents.”
As well as plenty of space for the children, the renovated facility houses an office, kitchen, store room and toilets – one with disabled access.
More information about the centre is available at http://belsaydaycare.webs.com