Teacher and children sitting on floor

We are pleased to announce the opening of a parent-led nursery at the Vanguard estate in Lewisham.

Published: 10/10/2020

The Friendly Families Nursery has just opened in Lewisham. This is a joint venture between Peabody and the New Economics Foundation which aims to provide affordable childcare for local Peabody residents.

About the Nursery

Access to affordable childcare is a challenge for many families. Since February 2019, local families have been meeting regularly in a former nursery building on the Vanguard estate in Deptford. The building has a large, quiet outdoor garden away from busy roads, with lots of space to play and explore as well as a comfortable indoor space.

Parents have been working together to establish a nursery there. They've discussed affordable fees, opening hours and how they want children to learn in the space. They've also agreed the name: The Friendly Families Nursery. Parents worked with CODB, an award-winning architectural co-design and build practice, to design and install play equipment, including a mud kitchen and outdoor climbing space. 

The local parent directors registered Friendly Families Nursery as a new charity, recruited a team of excellent staff and achieved Ofsted registration. The Nursery opened in September 2020. 

This parent-led nursery delivers a childcare service to keep running costs low while working alongside early years professionals. Residents, who already formed a major part of the nursery management committee, exchange their services (including catering, gardening, accounting, reading, administration) for a reduction in childcare fees of up to 50 per cent. This helps them access high-quality childcare and supports them to work. It also boosts children's learning, particularly in areas which are underserved by the childcare system.

What does the nursery offer?

It has places for up to 26 local children aged between 2 and 5 years. Long days (8am to 6pm) and short days (9am to 3pm) are available and it opens fifty weeks a year. Families can also use their 15-hour and 30-hour childcare entitlements.

You can find out more about the nursery here or contact the team at friendlyfamiliesnursery@gmail.com or on 020 7018 6530.​

Parents have been supported by the New Economics Foundation, Coram Family Childcare and have received funding from Trust for London and the GLA. Peabody is the landlord and the Peabody Community Foundation supports the childcare provision by offering discounted leasehold fees, staff training opportunities, recruitment and use of the mobile creche services.

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