Tobias Ellwood MP Visits Tops Muscliff

Tobias Ellwood, MP, visited Tops Muscliff on 1st December with the children and Founder Cheryl Hadland, to see the new facilities for babies and 2 years olds in preparation for the funding to be available for younger children being made available from April and September 2024, and the coats and book bank for children in deprivation in the area.

Tobias Ellwood pledged his commitment to support local childcare providers, parents, and children.

Cheryl and Tobias discussed:

  • The 2.25% pA average increase in funding over the last 3 years for early years provision by the government and local authority, which means the rate paid for 2-4 year olds is now about half what it needs to be to keep day nurseries open and staff fairly paid.
  • Inadequate portal (Synergy) for funding applications and payments resulting in long delays in payment and significant damage to cash flow.
  • Lack of funding for SEND children is hampering Tops’ ability to meet their needs.  We already have 2 children with autism, 4 going through diagnosis and 3 children on EHCPlans – overloaded.  No funding at all for diagnosis unlike schools!
  • There is now a national shortage of nursery staff which is reducing availability of nursery places, and damaging the quality of education.
  • Means testing for funding for early years places and funding could enable all children to attend for 30 hours instead of just those whose parents are working.
  • The very heavy load of paying business rates.
  • The land and water pollution being caused by water companies allowing sewage into the environment, causing sickness, and stopping children’s access to the seas, and the one use plastic and micro plastics now in our food chain causing infertility and disease in humans and injuring and killing birds, whales, turtles, dolphins.
  • Air pollution, which is causing asthma and lung disease in small children. (several staff and children attending Tops Muscliff suffer from asthma)
  • The lack of option to chose oat milk, fruit and vegetables instead of dairy milk in English nurseries, despite some children being dairy intolerant, and obesity being a major problem for increasing numbers of children.
  • Waste costs of disposable nappies being 4% of the domestic rates bill for everyone plus £1000 per nursery p.a.  Should have a washable nappy programme for all day nurseries in Bournemouth – funding available from the EU.
  • The positive impact that Tops Day Nurseries (Queens Award) has on children and their families lives in Bournemouth, good and outstanding teaching, healthy, safe environments.

During their visit, Mr Ellwood and Cheryl created some snowflakes with the children and enjoyed some delicious food from our famous no added sugar menus, especially prepared by the Tops Catering team.
Speaking after the official opening event, Cheryl Hadland said: Children do not have a vote, and need us all to represent them and their needs for the future, so it was great to be able to share our concerns for them with Tobias.

Tobias Ellwood commented: It was a pleasure to meet the children and staff of Tops Muscliff.  Education of the youngest children in our community is of concern to us all, as they are the future, whether they become lawyers, farmers, NHS staff, politicians, or occupations still unknown. Giving children the best start possible is one of the best investments we can make in our community and country.

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