The first nursery to ever open its doors in Cookstown is about to celebrate 25 years in business with a fun day for the children it looks after.
But as well as putting on entertainment for their current customers, Care Bear Creche has also extended an invitation to every child who ever crossed their threshold, as well as their families.
Speaking about her excitement at reaching this milestone, founder Alice Nugent said: “I am absolutely delighted that we are still around - I have a daughter who works with us and eventually I would like her to continue it on.
“I founded Care Bear on the twelfth of March 1990 - we have been in business now for 25 years.”
When asked how it all came about, she explained: “I’m a nurse... we had to be on duty for quarter to eight in the morning, and sometimes you went to the child-minder and they couldn’t take the child - and I was getting stressed about it.”
But instead of just thinking about it, Alice decided to do something and that’s when Care Bear was formed.
From making that decision 25 years ago, the creche has gone from minding just ten children to now caring for 65 in the morning and a further 40 in the afternoon, with the help of 30 staff, including two nurses.
And everyone that works there, Alice proudly said, has their level three qualification in child care - with some now working towards level five.
But it was not always that easy, said Alice: “It took a wee while - we used to hear people saying that’s not going to be good for small children to be away all day from their families - but we used to say if they’re at a child minders they are away all day anyway. We try to get that home-from-home environment.”
Speaking about the coming event, she added: “It would be lovely if anyone who ever availed of our services could come and join us for a cup of tea or coffee. We are having lots of old photographs put up [and] we would like to send out a special invitation to those children who were with us in the early years.”