30 Years of Children 1st – Our Year of Charitable Celebrations

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Children 1st Day Nurseries it was decided to mark this significant milestone by raising money for 30 charities, in what we are calling our ‘Year of Charitable Celebrations.’

Margaret Mason, OBE, our founder and chief executive, pledged that the company would double the amount raised at fund-raising events throughout the year and nurseries were invited to fund raise for charities which were particularly close to their hearts.

As the year rapidly moves on, here’s an update on what we’ve achieved so far in our birthday year.

Summer has seen many of our nurseries host their Summer Fairs, with all funds raised being donated to their chosen charity. The money raised has been match funded by Children 1st.


Beginning our Summer Fair season, Children 1st @ Derby Road in Long Eaton fundraised for The Hungry Caterpillar Cafe and Long Eaton Community Space. Despite the unkind weather, family, friends and staff helped to raise £1000 which was match funded to make £2000. The Café is a child-friendly community space offering afternoon teas, arts and crafts, classes for babies and toddlers and a safe bottle or breast feeding environment for new parents.

At Children 1st @ Acorns Upper Tean, the nursery nominated a charity called “Aching Arms’ which aims to bring comfort to bereaved parents after pregnancy and baby loss. In total, the fundraising efforts at the Summer Fair raised £2,306. Funds were boosted by a donation from Eddie Stobart of various items of motor sport memorabilia including signed Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen caps. Thanks go to Melissa Astolfz, a parent at the nursery, who acts as an ambassador and fundraiser for the charity and who organised this donation.

Children 1st @ Leicester decided that funds raised at their Summer Fair would will be donated to The Foundation for Prader-Willi Syndrome Research U.K (FPWR) a national charitable organisation dedicated to eliminating the challenges faced by people with Prader-Willi Syndrome. The Foundation was chosen as one of the children attending the nursery has this rare genetic condition. Thanks to the support of the community £700 will be donated to help fund the vital research undertaken by the FPWR to provide a better life for those with the condition.


At Children 1st @ St. Peter and St. Paul, the nursery’s sports themed Garden Party was a memorable day for all with lots of fun and laughter, especially when the staff wheelbarrow race took place! Match funding by Children 1st brought the total raised for the Junior Diabetes Association and MacMillan Cancer Support, to £2,600.

In Leicestershire, Children 1st @ Shepshed decided the proceeds from their Summer Fair would be donated to The Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People. Another rainy day but Elsa from Frozen worked her magic and drew in the crowds to raise £1000.

Tracey Highton, manager of Children 1st @ Shepshed, comments: “Several years ago the team here at Shepshed sadly said goodbye to one of the young children due to a terminal illness.  Rainbows provides incredible care for children and young people, helping to brighten up short lives, so it is a cause close to all our hearts. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported our 30th Birthday Summer Fair. We know our donation will directly benefit someone locally when they are going through a tough time.”

A beach themed Summer Fair at Children 1st @ Chesterfield Royal Hospital to support the work of the Nightingale Ward at the hospital raised £1442. As the nursery is located within the grounds of the hospital and with many hospital staff using the facility, the nursery was aware of the vital work they do in providing essential care for babies and young people. Knowing that the Nightingale Ward has been a lifeline for children and their families over the years, this was an ideal choice to benefit from the 30 causes initiative.

So, successful six fairs have taken place and elsewhere other fundraising has happened. Children 1st @ Clowne held a charity football match. part of a football day, which so far has raised £814, which will be doubled to  at least £1628 as sponsorship is still being collected.

Some very special dads from Clowne, played football to raise money for Sheffield Children’s Hospital in recognition of their invaluable skills and care for poorly children. This is especially close to the heart of Clowne, as one of their pupils has been on his own journey to wellness guided by the amazing staff at the hospital. Thank-you to the fifteen dads who made this event possible!

So, as we move towards the end of July, seven Children 1st Day nurseries, with match funding from head office have supported seven good causes and raised a magnificent £11,744. Thanks to everyone who has so generously supported all our events with donations and by attending the events on the day. Special thanks go to our nursery staff for giving their time and energy to make these events so successful.

To bring this round-up to a close we must mention Children 1st Director Adrian Mason who chose to help with fund-raising for Ashgate Hospice in Chesterfield by collaborating with snooker colleagues to match the money they had raised for their chosen good cause. With match funding, a total of £6000 has been donated to the hospice which, co-incidentally, is celebrating its own 30th anniversary.

We look forward to keeping you updated on our other events throughout the year!

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We would love to meet you and your child and take you on a tour of your local Children 1st Nursery. Our experienced staff will be delighted to answer any questions you have about enrolling your child in our nurseries.

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We will deliver the highest quality of learning and care to your child