Following close partnership working between Ready Generations and Belong Ltd, planning permission has been granted for the North West's first nursery within a care setting, at Belong's care village development, due to open in Chester in January 2022.
The 25-place nursery, featuring a secure sensory nature and play garden, will provide the highest quality care and learning environment for children from birth to five years, operating flexibly over six days a week to accommodate work and shift patterns. As a pioneering concept, the nursery has been designed to offer shared learning experiences and opportunities for children, families and older people and will develop into a blueprint for integrated intergenerational practice and research.
Village and nursery teams are already working closely together to create a truly shared environment where children and older people can live alongside each other building meaningful relationships and sustained connections. This will make the Chester site Belong’s first truly integrated intergenerational care village.
The project has taken several years to plan and involved the Ready Generations team of early years experts working closely with Belong Ltd from the very earliest design stages. Ready Generations are also working in partnership with several universities, including the University of Stirling, which already has an outstandingly successful intergenerational research kindergarten.
Building sustained connection between generations is proven to have extensive benefits for all ages, as Sue Egersdorff, Ready Generations founder, explains:
‘Intergenerational interactions are shown to improve cognition, health and wellbeing. This includes supporting the learning and development of children whilst reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness in older people. By bringing generations together, everyone can benefit from new life experiences and friendships which remove barriers and enhance a sense of community and reciprocal care. Age becomes of little significance. This promotes a dynamic vision of joyful living, one in which our dignity as humans does not depend on whether we are able to exercise certain capabilities. Everyone is accepted for who they are and what they bring.’
The nursery represents a significant extension of both Ready Generations and Belong’s commitment to the development of vibrant intergenerational communities. Welcoming and supporting children, young people and families into Belong care villages is central to the ethos of both organisations. The vision extends to working with local early years settings, schools and colleges and encouraging grandchildren, greatgrandchildren and local families to visit the village regularly.
Commenting on the development, Belong’s deputy chief executive, Tracy Paine said:
‘All our villages provide a vibrant hub within the wider community, and we are particularly excited about the unique possibilities of having an integrated intergenerational nursery on site. With a successful track record in promoting intergenerational engagement, we already witness the benefits of this approach. By working closely with Ready Generations, we have been able to access the most advanced knowledge from research and practice to take this a step further. We expect our learning and understanding will continue to grow as the concept develops, with benefits for both residents, colleagues and the local community.’
Belong Chester and the Nursery are due to open in January 2022. The Nursery will provide care and education for babies and children from birth to five. The Village also offers a range of care, housing and support options for older people, as well as extensive amenities in the village centre, including a bistro, hair salon, gym and art studio.
To receive information on the Nursery and how to register an interest in a place contact email@example.com or call 01244 470 570 who will direct you to the Nursery Team.
Pictured: Margaret Grunfeld, Beth Saffer and Saffy Mathews from a Morris Minors event from the start of 2020