Teddy bears’ picnic celebrates Pre-school Centre founder
Brenda Taylor returns to join youngsters at end-of-year event
The University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Pre-School Centre has celebrated the end of the academic year by welcoming back the founder manager.
Brenda Taylor started running the University’s pre-school in 1984 and she was among the invited guests at a special teddy bears’ picnic at the multi-million pound purpose-built facility.
She said: “Back then, we started out in a tiny caretaker’s flat with 12 children so to see what it’s developed into is absolutely wonderful. The facilities are marvellous, there’s so much space and there’s a lot more children.
“It’s great to see the ethos hasn’t changed in all that time. We started the Pre-school because we wanted to offer help to those students with young children, we wanted people to be able to attend University knowing childcare wasn’t going to cause them a problem. I remember a single mum-of-three who came from Blackpool to do a part-time course and we were her saviours because without the childcare she’d have been unable to do her studies. That’s still the case now, not only for students but for staff too.”
"Back then, we started out in a tiny caretaker’s flat with 12 children so to see what it’s developed into is absolutely wonderful. The facilities are marvellous, there’s so much space and there’s a lot more children."
During the 34 years since its formation, the Pre-School has had three different homes across the Preston Campus. After the flat, it moved to larger premises next to Hannover Building to accommodate more children. Then in 2011, it was located next to UCLan’s Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre and now holds 90 pupils per day. Last year it was recognised as outstanding by Ofsted.
Saskia Holt, Joint Manager of the Pre-school Centre, said: “It was wonderful to invite Brenda back to show her what it’s like nowadays. I started my career under her so for her to come back and see how the Pre-school Centre has developed over the decades was really nice. I know she was thrilled to see what amazing facilities we have.”
Among the other invited guests were Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Thomas, Chair of the Board David Taylor, Chief Operating Officer Michael Ahern and a selection of Student Support staff who were nominated for helping others throughout the past academic year.
David Taylor, Chair of the Board, added: “From a modest start it’s grown into one of the best Pre-school facilities in Lancashire. It’s great for the University, students, staff and children.”
* Banner image shows Alexander Northwood, Myles Norcross, Edith Pemberton-Bruce and Rowan Jones with Ted