Nursery entrepreneurs secure future of Longbenton service

Paul and Leigh Caven will offer additional services after taking over nursery from Barnado's and safeguarding six jobs

Leigh Caven at her nursery in Longbenton
Leigh Caven at her nursery in Longbenton

Two entrepreneurs have stepped in to secure the future of a Longbenton nursery.

The service, next to Longbenton Children’s Centre, was under threat of closure after the charity Barnardo’s announced plans to end its involvement in the running of it.

Now Paul and Leigh Caven, who run Leigh’s Nurseries in Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland, and Bensham, Gateshead, have secured a tenancy agreement with North Tyneside Council and have taken over the service with immediate effect.

The move has helped to safeguard six jobs and expands the husband-and-wife team’s area of operation.

For the first time, additional services will also be introduced at the Longbenton site, including supported places, family advice and baby weaning courses.

Earlier this year, Leigh’s Nurseries in Heddon-on-the-Wall secured a rare ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted for the second consecutive time, becoming one of around just 2% of UK nurseries to do so.

Mr Caven said: “The services offered from this nursery have been excellent so when we heard that the facility - which is near to where we live - was earmarked for closure, we couldn’t let it happen.

“Both the council and Barnado’s have been very supportive of our bid to keep the nursery open, not least because no one wants it to lie empty. We are also all very aware of the need for local people to have access to high quality childcare, which is the mainstay of our offer.

“Our job now is to let residents and those working nearby know that the nursery is once again up and running to an excellent standard and we still have places for those that need them.”

Kayleigh Cookson, a local parent, said: “I live in Longbenton and have two kids who use the nursery so it was devastating to think it would close. Lots of people felt the same so the reaction to the fact it will now stay open has been extremely positive. It’s a huge relief for all of us.”

For more information on the nursery, visit www.leighsnurseries.co.uk .

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