VolkerRail helps fund children’s wellbeing and development community project

VolkerRail has donated £2,500 to Yewkids nursery in Carlisle, to help launch an early year’s wellbeing and development community project – ‘Yewkids play out to help out’.

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Yewkids nursery is a non-for-profit nursery, which provides full time day care for families with children under four years old.

Following discussions on the impact lockdown has had on children with parents from its mother and toddler group, and with parents from the wider local community, the nursery has developed a programme to help children who have suffered from the effects of long term isolation, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lockdowns. These effects include development delays, behavioural problems, speech and language challenges, and difficulties relating to wellbeing and confidence, including separation anxiety.

The ‘play out to help out’ outreach support service will be a free service for local families with babies and toddlers, and aims to address the detrimental impact the pandemic has had on families and their children, and to ensure early intervention to support their development. The service will also offer a knowledge hub for parents to better understand how children can learn through play, and other simple everyday routines to address any concerns they might be experiencing.

The donation from VolkerRail, along with a grant from the local authority, has helped fund this programme, which will launch later this year, and run twice weekly, in six week blocks, over six months.

Children attending the support sessions will take part in activities such as ‘You Speak’ (song-time session), sensory play, story groups, and play sessions on emotional development. There will also be a ‘Bath-Book-Bed’ library service, and resource loaning scheme, and each session will be followed by social time for parents, with staff on hand to provide help and advice.

As well as a financial donation, VolkerRail has also helped rejuvenate the nurseries outside area, following an extensive volunteering project by its Carlisle based project team, in October 2021.

Jude Copeland, Yewkids nursery manager, said: “I want to say an enormous thank you to VolkerRail for the incredible donation towards our early years project. It will go a long way to getting us started, with what I hope will be really valuable local support for the younger children in our community.”

“As a nursery, we already run parent workshops to teach the why’s and how’s about their child’s learning, development and wellbeing, as we are passionate about this subject. This project allows us to not only support the children in our current nursery cohort, but also those in our local community that attend our toddler group and those who may go into nursery or school elsewhere over the few years”.

Hayley Heap, VolkerRail social value advisor, said: “After volunteering at the nursery back in October, we knew we wanted to do more to help. I’m pleased that we were able to fund the nursery’s early years development project. I know it is of great importance to the community, and we hope to be able to provide further support to the programme throughout 2022.”