Bexhill nursery opens after community backs parents’ campaign

A nursery in Sidley was officially opened this week after a group of parents successfully campaigned to retain childcare spaces in Bexhill.

The Bexhill Family Collective SUS-210303-131903001
The Bexhill Family Collective SUS-210303-131903001

Dragonflies Community Nursery opened at the former Rainbows nursery site, in Ninfield Road, on Monday (March 1), with its baby room set to open on March 15.

The Bexhill Family Collective – a not-for-profit community interest company set up by five Bexhill parents – successfully secured the lease for the site on December 22, and, after passing its Ofsted registration, was cleared to open to the first wave of children.

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Comedian Eddie Izzard, who has backed the Bexhill Family Collective in their efforts to save two Bexhill nurseries, cut the ribbon on Monday morning during a virtual opening attended by Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman and a number of Rother District councillors.

Eddie Izzard cuts the ribbon during a virtual opening of Dragonflies Community Nursery SUS-210303-131635001

Bexhill Family Collective was set up in August 2020 by local parents Ollie Jeffs, Heather Winchester, Nikki Collins, Ena Osula and Emily Bowler after East Sussex County Council announced plans to close Cygnets, in Egerton Road, and Rainbow Childcare Centre on December 31 in an attempt to save £2.6m from the authority’s children’s services budget.

With a mission of providing affordable all-year-round care for babies and children up to the age of five, the group received backing from the community, almost 20 local businesses, as well as Hastings Direct, Heart of Sidley and Rother Voluntary Action as they raised more than £7,000.

Speaking this week, Nikki Collins said: “We are all incredibly proud to say that Dragonflies Community Nursery in Sidley, Bexhill is officially open.

“It has been an incredible journey of all emotions, but with hard work, determination and the backing from our community, we have opened our doors on Monday morning to the first wave of very happy children. Children are settling in very well in our preschool and toddler room and we will be opening our baby room (0-2s) on Monday 15th.

“After countless meetings, late nights and continually working with parents, councillors and officers at Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council, we were successful in securing a lease with Rother District Council on the 22nd December 2020 in Sidley. Our vision is that it takes a community to raise a child and hope to have some more exciting news about further services we will be able to offer to families in the near future.

“After a traumatic year in a worldwide pandemic, it is incredible that we can now offer children and families some hope for the future at our setting. May we take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who has donated time, resources, emotional support, bucket loads of patience, intellect and expertise to help us get to where we are today.

“We have a small number of spaces available so please feel free to contact our Joanne and Meggan, the nursery management team, via [email protected]