London-Brighton sponsored bike ride to raise money for community nursery
- Credit: Naomi Jankelewitz
Parents have joined forces with the headteacher at a Muswell Hill nursery to raise vital funds.
With Covid causing a sizeable dent in its finances, and increased competition from private childcare providers, a team of mums are gearing up for a London to Brighton challenge to help safeguard the future of Yeladenu Pre-School.
They'll be joined on the bike by headteacher Helen Style.
Yeladenu receives some government funding, but with its enrolment dropping and having had to forgo fees during the height of the pandemic, financial help is needed.
So a group of parents decided to see how they could help, and have so far helped to raise close to £25,000 — as a generous donor is match-funding everything they raise on JustGiving — ahead of their sponsored bike ride.
Ahead of getting in the saddle on Sunday July 11, headteacher Helen, who was one of the nursery's founders back in 2004, told this newspaper: "It should be fun. Though I'm now told we might have to be back in time for the football."
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Helen said the group's first training ride had been "slow and painful" but said the team were now into the swing of things, and have completed distances of around 65km so far.
She thanked people who had supported the fundraiser so far, saying: "People have been incredibly generous and supportive. People from across the synagogue community, many of whom have had no connection to the nursery directly."
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The headteacher said the pressures Yeladenu faces in 2021 are "two pronged". She said: "We need money and we need children! We lost a huge amount of money particularly during Covid."
She said low levels of government support means "everyone in early years education is fighting a bit of a losing battle much of the time".
Helen added: "We have seen a real decline in numbers of children coming here. I think perhaps demographics have changed. Muswell Hill is an expensive area. We have been squeezed by the all-day nurseries."
Yeladenu, based in Muswell Hill Synagogue in Tetherdown, takes pupils of all faiths and has received glowing "outstanding" Ofsted reports twice since 2015.
In late June, in response to calls for a "long-term settlement" for maintained nurseries from Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers, the government's early years minister Vicky Ford said: "The government remains committed to their long-term funding and to reaching a long-term solution by working with the sector."