New era for popular children’s building

Family-owned nursery business Little Tinklers will operate from the Ponteland Children's Centre building on Thornhill Road from April 1.
Family-owned nursery business Little Tinklers will operate from the Ponteland Children's Centre building on Thornhill Road from April 1.

Services for young children will continue to be run from a facility in Ponteland after a nursery successfully bid to have a base in the area.

Following a consultation and successful tender process, Little Tinklers will be extending its services and operating from the Ponteland Children’s Centre building on Thornhill Road from April 1.

The new site will be an Ofsted registered nursery offering sessional, full-day and funded places to eligible two, three and four-year-olds.

There will continue to be a weekly Stay & Play and Baby Club session in partnership with health services, while early years practitioners will provide speech, language and play development information.

Family support will be delivered in homes and parenting and child development courses will be delivered from other west locality Sure Start children’s centres. Work with the Albemarle barracks will also continue.

The announcement comes after Northumberland County Council agreed last year to postpone a proposal to close the Ponteland Sure Start building so that officers could work with local families to find new ways to deliver children’s services in the area.

It had suggested running them in places such as the library, St Mary’s Church Hall and the Memorial Hall.

But at a public meeting and during the consultation, the parents, grandparents and carers who take children to Ponteland Children’s Centre, which opened in 2010, were concerned that these venues would not be suitable.

They also said professionals such as a domestic violence adviser, occupational therapist and speech therapist would no longer have a base in Ponteland.

Coun Robert Arckless, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “The council has to make some very substantial savings over the next few years and so we’ve had to look at new ways of delivering services, including children’s services.

“In Ponteland, there was a greater level of community concern about ceasing to use the Sure Start building as a designated children’s centre, so we agreed to defer changing its status to allow time to develop and establish new ways of delivering children’s services in the community.

“We’re delighted a well-established nursery will be providing these new services.”

Georgina Lester, owner of the Little Tinklers business, said the new nursery will operate in a similar format to its successful nursery in Corbridge.

She added: “It will offer state-of-the-art facilities such as fingerprint entry systems and online personal journals, where parents have instant access to daily photos and videos.”