30 Years of Children 1st - Our Year of Charitable Celebrations | Children 1st Day Nurseries

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.


The Children 1st Senior Management Team put their best feet forward to take part in a sponsored walk at Wollaton Park which they themed as ‘Hiking in Hats for Harry.’ The event was held to support Director Cathy Griffin’s fundraising efforts on behalf of her brave great nephew Harry and others affected by childhood cancers who are being supported by the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. In honour of Harry and inspired by his ‘let’s just get it done’ spirit, his family have pledged to raise £350,000 for the hospital though their ‘Harry’s Giant Pledge Appeal’.

As we moved into summer many of our nurseries hosted 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 £2,000. 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 £1,000.

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 £1,443. 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.

Some very special dads from Children 1st @ 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 and for helping to raise £2,128 for this good cause.

As we moved to the end of July, five more of our nurseries held their Summer Fairs. All taking place over the weekend of 27 July and sadly not blessed by great weather.

Children 1st @ Main Street, joined with Derby Road, our other Children 1st nursery in Long Eaton to raise money for the The Hungry Caterpillar Cafe and Long Eaton Community Space. Collectively the nurseries raised £2,542.10.

Our Newark nurseries chose to support each chose to support good causes which are very special to them. Children 1st @ Newark Town selected The Newark Food Bank because of the invaluable contribution it makes to providing the essentials for local families in times of great need. The money raised on the day, £ 206.42 has been match funded by Children 1 st head office to bring the total amount to £412.84 

Children 1st @ Newark decided to fundraise for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity to support the work of The Royal Marsden Hospital, a world-leading cancer centre which pioneers the very latest in cancer treatments and technologies and provides specialist care for people of all ages. A busy Summer Fair raised £250.40 which was match funded by head office to make a total of  £500.80.

Fund-raising for the Royal Marsden Hospital also took place at Children 1st @ Plumtree with a Summer Fair held to support ‘Harry’s Giant Pledge.’ Following the death of the child aged just five through a rare form of cancer, Harry’s family are trying to raise £350,000 to enable the hospital to continue its excellent provision and ground breaking research. The Summer Fair raised £717.79 which when match funded by head office brought the total to £1,435.58. 

At Children 1st @ Birstall the profit from their Summer Fair were donated to Cancer Research UK to help the organisation to achieve their vision of bringing forward the day when all cancers are cured. This would be an incredible achievement and one which would benefit most families. A total raised at the Summer fair of £347.84 of £695.68 has been match funded to bring the total to £695.68 


A little one attending Children 1st @ Grantham has a condition known as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) and not surprisingly the nursery decided to donate the proceeds from their Summer Fair to this good cause. As nursery manager Paula Bunn points out, “ Most people think that arthritis is a condition that just affects elderly people which is clearly not the case. The money raised will help the important work undertaken by the charity and enable them to continue providing invaluable support for young people with JIA, their families and carers. We are pleased to have raised £600 at the event which with match funding from head office brought the total to £1,200.”


Children 1st @ Toton held a Summer Fair which drew in the crowds who were attracted by a bright array of stalls and activities.  The Hungry Caterpillar Cafe and Long Eaton Community Space had been chosen as the worthy recipients of the profits made at the fair and so after match funding by head office a total of £1105.60 has been presented to the charity.

This latest fundraising effort on behalf of Hungry Caterpillar Café and Community Space brings the total donated by Children 1st Day Nurseries for this Long Eaton initiative to the grand total of £3647.70 following donations made earlier this summer by the company’s Long Eaton nurseries located on Derby Road and Main Street.

The Fire Service were selected by Children 1st @ Syston to receive the proceeds from their Summer Fair. Mindful of all the efforts made by Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service in supporting a range of charities, the nursery wanted to give a boost to their charitable work.

Emma Haywood, manager of our Syston nursery comments, “We are awarel of the work undertaken by the fire service both in terms of keeping the community safe and their charitable fundraising. For example, they raise money through their Fire Fighters Charity to support injured firefighters and their families as well as fundraising at Christmas for a range of charities. They also give their time to the nursery, bringing the fire engine and talking to the children about fire safety. Our fund raising is a way of conveying our thanks for all they do to help us.”

A cheque for £885.60 has been received by the Leicestershire Fire Service.

To bring our season of Summer fairs to a close, Children 1st nurseries at Rosemary Lane and at Wragby Road held a joint event. After match funding each nursery was pleased to donate £218.60 to their chosen charities, the Ethan Maull Charity and The Lincoln Community Larder.

Fundraising for Harry’s Giant Pledge continued with staff and friends taking part in a 10K sponsored walk on the 14th September at Chatsworth House to help Harry’s family achieve their huge goal of raising £350,000 for the Royal Marsden Hospital. They have so far raised over £307,000!



A very well supported Family Fun Day at Children 1st @ Hathern, saw the nursery raise £2939.20 to support the provision of services by the charity, ‘Living Without Abuse.’ With local businesses providing over 65 donations for the raffle and tombola, and others having stall on the day, it’s no wonder that families, friends and the community raised £1469.60 on the day which with match funding by head office was raised to £2939.20. Dawn Dakin, nursery manager comments,

“Thanks to everyone for their tremendous support.We became aware of the work of Living Without Abuse in supporting victims of domestic violence when a tragedy struck someone very close to us in our community. The charity is committed to raising awareness of domestic abuse, working towards its prevention and eradication, and assisting those affected by this crime to determine their own lives. We hope that our donation will help to make a difference to people’s lives.”

The cheque presentation shows Dawn Dakin,  Jasmine Roberts, early years practitioner and area manager Alice Houldsworth, with Debbie Hughes from the charity Living Without Abuse.


Buckinghams at Leek added a festive touch to our year of charitable donations holding a Christmas Fair to raise money on behalf of the UK Sepsis Trust.

The traditional Christmas Fair featured an array of seasonal stalls and activities to suit all ages. Most popular with the little ones was Santa’s Grotto whilst Christmas craft and gift stalls added to the festive feel of the fair.

The event raised £732.21 on the day and this has been match funded by Children 1st to bring the overall total to £1464.42.

Nicky Hardy, manager of Buckinghams commented, “Our experience of working with children over the years has raised our awareness of sepsis but we know that for many people this is not the case. Although our Christmas Fair was held to raise money for the UK Sepsis Trust, we also provided leaflets and displayed posters about the condition, its signs and symptoms. The vision of the UK Sepsis Trust is to end preventable deaths from sepsis by raising awareness of the condition and its treatment amongst healthcare professionals and the public. Here at Buckinghams, we are pleased to play a small part in their ‘Just Ask: Could it be Sepsis?’ campaign and we hope that the money raised will help with the vital work of the charity.”

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 £6,000 has been donated to the hospice which, co-incidentally, is celebrating its own 30th anniversary.

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.

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