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Outstanding Member Award winners revealed

By Rachel Lawler
The winners of the first ever Outstanding Member Awards have been revealed at a ceremony hosted by broadcaster Jenni Trent-Hughes.
The awards recognise innovation and commitment in the early years sector and were attended by around 600 delegates at the Alliance’s annual conference, Minds Matter.

The Outstanding Member Awards 2018 winners

Kate ShepherdOutstanding early years individual

Kate Shepherd, Bright Sparks Playgroup, Hereford
Kate first attended Bright Sparks as a child, while her mother worked as manager at the setting. She later trained with the Alliance and eventually took over from her mother as manager. Despite challenges, Kate has lobbied local councillors, local schools and the local MP to ensure the setting’s survival, while also seeing the setting progressing from a ‘good’ to an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating.

Steady Steps

Outstanding early years team

Steady Steps, Gosport
Based in a military town, Steady Steps is based in a location that sees a high level of parent absenteeism. The team recognised that children in their care often struggle with anxiety and anger. Manager Julie created the role of Emotional Health coordinator, who she now works with to provide specialist emotional support.

Lydia CoveneyOutstanding newcomer

Lydia Coveney, St Alban’s pre-school, Macclesfield

Lydia first joined this setting on a work experience placement, before training for an NVQ. She is now a full-time member of the team and key worker for 19 children, while also studying for a foundation degree. She is described by her team as a “young star”.

Carol ImmsLifetime achievement

Carol Imms, volunteer at Mill Lane Pre-school Association, Broxbourne

Carol spent 40 years as Permanent Secretary at Mill Lane Pre-school, working hard to ensure the smooth running of the organisation so that other members of staff could concentrate on taking care of the children. Working on countless fundraising events, she has helped ensure that the setting has access to the latest equipment and opportunities.

High expectations

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said: “We were so excited to launch our first-ever Outstanding Member Awards this year and the calibre of the nominations we received surpassed our high expectations.
“All across the sector, there are passionate practitioners – both paid and volunteers – working tirelessly to delivery quality care and education and provide vital support to local families, and it was such a pleasure to be able to celebrate this through our awards.
“All of this year’s winners and nominees demonstrated a commitment to the early years and a willingness to go beyond expectations to support children and families, and they should be very proud of what they have achieved.”

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