Celebrating 25 years of caring…
in 2015, Tops Day Nurseries celebrated its 25th anniversary. From its humble beginnings back in 1990, when a small nursery was opened in Parkstone for 4 children, we are now a family of nurseries across the south with over 2,000 children attending our nurseries.
Cheryl Hadland, Founder of Tops Day Nurseries, tells us how it all started:
So Cheryl, 25 years in business is no mean feat. How did it all start? Tops Day Nurseries came about because as a working mum, I was struggling to find childcare. Before starting Tops, I was a scuba diving instructor. My job was dictated by the tides and often meant early mornings and weekends. Trying to find a day nursery open at 7.00am in the morning or on a Saturday was impossible 25 years ago.
How are you celebrating 25 years of Tops? On February 5th we buried a time capsule at Tops Parkstone and we had a ’90’s day for the children. They dressed up in 90’s fashion, listened to 90’s music and played with 90’s toys! On June 6th, Tops held a central open day across our Dorset nurseries to celebrate and welcome the local community in. This was a great opportunity for everyone to get involved, from our children who already attend the nurseries, parents who were considering childcare through to the local community who wanted to come and see what we are all about.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements to date and where do you see Tops going in the future? That’s easy. When Tops started 25 years ago, we had 4 children. In 2015, we had over 2000 children attending 15 nurseries. The aim is to have 24 nurseries – number 19 will be opening soon.
As we continue to grow, our focus is on our ethos – respectful care, natural play resources, the benefits of risks and active play. We will continue to develop extra- curricular activities for our children; these include the forest schools; cooking workshops, where children are able to prepare, cook and taste the food; and Football Fun.
We will also continue to provide childcare for older children through our Mini Beasts clubs which offer breakfast and after school clubs plus holiday cover. Our staff take and collect the children from school which is a godsend to many working parents.
What makes Tops so special? We work with our families to ensure that they get childcare that suits their requirements. Tops is the only nursery group to offer flexible hours for families. We open early and close late and provide flexibility for parents who are working shifts. We also have a flexible holiday scheme and we open every bank holiday. We are piloting Saturday opening at Tops Bournemouth which is particularly handy for single parent families or families where both parents are shift workers. If the take up is great enough, we will roll this out across other sites.
How have you balanced career and family over the last 25 years? I’ve been blessed with fantastic support from staff, family and friends. In fact, four of my key members of staff have been with me for many years, Maria since Tops started; Charlotte, Kelly and Nicky are all coming up to twenty years.
Eight members of my family work within the Hadland Care Group ranging from accounts through to the nurseries. All of my children attended Tops, my daughter works at our Boscombe branch and my grandson attends Tops Portsmouth. It really is a family affair!