Leading childcare practitioners and playworkers from across the region were united at a prestigious prize-giving.
The second Wrexham Childcare Awards brought together the cream of the sector for a glittering ceremony organised by Wrexham Family Information Service (WFIS).
More than 100 people were in attendance, including the council’s chief executive, Dr Helen Paterson; Ian Lucas MP, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, Lesley Griffiths, and Professor Graham Upton, Interim Vice-Chancellor at Wrexham Glyndŵr University.
The event was held at the university’s Racecourse Stadium, where 11 winners were crowned and many more were lauded for their contribution to childcare and support of the industry.
Introducing the awards, Dr Paterson said: “We cannot overstate the many advantages to children who benefit from high quality childcare, both English and Welsh medium provision, and this is a message we need to keep communicating to families and those who may have misconceptions about the sector.
“We must make sure that all childcare in Wrexham is of the highest quality for our children and we work hard to provide a comprehensive training programme. We also encourage and support settings to work towards quality assurance.
“Tonight we are celebrating excellent and innovative practice – we had so many worthy nominations that it has been quite a challenge for the panel to decide on the winners and runners up. The large number of nominations also demonstrates the esteem held by Wrexham parents and children for so many settings, large and small.
“We will continue to face challenges in the childcare sector and financial and governance issues are likely to remain high on the agenda for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean we lose sight of the most important element of quality childcare provision – children.”
The awards were founded in 2013 as WFIS recognised there was no way of celebrating the excellence and achievements of the area’s childcare industry.
They wanted to show their appreciation for the work that goes on in the arena across the county, to recognise and celebrate best practice, as well as promoting high quality and finding out what families really think about Wrexham’s childcare providers.
Among those to pick up trophies on the night were Acton Children’s and Family Centre, Groundwork North Wales, Rob Cooper from Rogues and Rascals, Sprouts, and a tearful Lindsey Borrelli, who was named Learner of the Year.
Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, Lesley Griffiths, who presented the Inclusive Practice Award, paid tribute to WFIS for organising the evening and to those across the country who do so much to improve the lives of children of all ages in Wales.
She said: “Good quality, affordable childcare is important for children to get the very best start in life and for parents to be able to access work or training. I am delighted to celebrate the achievements, and reward the best practice, of the fantastic childcare providers across the region.”
Professor Upton, who handed out the Celebrating Excellence accolade to Garden Village Playgroup, added: “What an honour to see so many incredible people doing such wonderful things in childcare, which is such a vital area. We were honoured to host the awards and I would like to congratulate all of the winners and runners-up on the night.”
THE WINNERS WERE:
Playgroup of the Year – Acton Children’s and Family Centre
Nursery of the Year – Homestead Day Nursery
Out of School Club of the Year – Bwlchgwyn Cabin Crew
Childminder of the Year – Rogues and Rascals – Rob Cooper
Holiday Club of the Year – Groundwork North Wales
Celebrating Excellence – Garden Village Playgroup
Children’s Choice – Acton Park Wraparound Care
Learner of the Year – Lindsey Borrelli
Inclusive Practice Award – Sprouts
Parents’ Choice – Groundwork North Wales
Second Language Acquisition – Maria Costa