Dec 01, 2008

Friday night - it must be an awards ceremony!

It’s been a really great couple of weeks for The Old Station Nursery on the PR front, as we entered 2 different industry awards and were delighted to be short-listed as finalists in both. On the 21st November we were at the Hurlingham Club in London for the Nursery World Awards, where we were shortlisted for Nursery Chain of the Year, Business Development Award and Nursery Manager of the Year. Our Faringdon Nursery Manager, Liz Clements, has been with us since I started the company in 2002 and I was delighted that all her hard work and dedication resulted in her being a finalist in this hotly contested category. Last year she dealt with the flooding at Faringdon so calmly and the nursery didn’t close for a single day, which was truly remarkable. Unfortunately Liz was pipped at the post for the award, but received a special commendation, so we had to remind her that second best Nursery Manager in the country was really pretty impressive!  As a company we did win the Business Development Award, which was really pleasing; the judges recognised how successful the company had been in growing during difficult times in the industry, whilst maintaining high standards and quality provision.

Last Friday we were then at the London Hilton for the Nursery Management Today Awards (not a magazine featured on ‘Have I got news for you’ guest publications, despite my husband’s rude comments!).  Liz was again shortlisted for Nursery Manager of the Year, against a further 4 finalists and even had to endure an interview for this category a couple of months ago. Sadly, she didn’t walk away with the trophy this time either, but I have told her that there will most definitely be a next time.  However, it was great recognition for a really dedicated, caring individual, so well done to her.

I did have a grumble from one parent recently who said that we should ‘stop growing the business’, but I feel that our development has really helped us to make each nursery part of a much larger team, which supports the individual manager more and allows us to develop better Head Office systems, with Operations Managers who can work on improving the standards in the settings.  We have more scope for sharing best practice between the nurseries and also have more opportunities for training and development across the company, so I do believe it is a really positive thing.

It is always great to have external recognition of what we do and to know that our industry peers respect our achievements, but as always, without our fabulous team of staff, it just wouldn’t happen. So, a cheery thought to start this very cold Monday morning – here’s to the great staff team across The Old Station Nursery!

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