Barking nursery 'would welcome' contact from first intake as it celebrates 18th birthday
- Credit: Barney Bear’s Nursery
A Barking nursery has celebrated nearly two decades caring for children in the community.
Sarah Hawkins and Leah Clarke founded Barney Bear’s Nursery in Upney Lane some 18 years ago - on April 26, 2004 - after meeting as students at Barking and Dagenham College.
The business now has branches in West Ham, Chigwell and Ilford, and in December last year, won a Ilford South Business Award.
“Sarah and I have never stopped to reflect back over the company’s journey,” Leah said. “We are from humble backgrounds and have worked so hard to be where we are now.”
“We have home-grown so many wonderful staff, from students to managers - all from Barking and Dagenham."
She told this newspaper that a current trainee at the facility was cared for in its baby room all the way back in 2004.
“Along our journey, we have welcomed so many wonderful staff, some that are still with us after 14 years.”
Faye Smith, manager of the Barking venue, has worked at Barney Bear’s Nursery for the last seven years: “We have a passion for working with children, watching them grow and develop.
- 1 Dagenham man fined within hours of fly-tipping at bus stop
- 2 The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee flypast: Where, and when, the planes will fly over north and east London
- 3 Girl, 17, held on suspicion of terrorism offences after east London arrest
- 4 Police appeal after intruder reportedly enters Barking home and threatens woman with knife
- 5 Travel bulletin: Havering, Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham
- 6 Dagenham and West Ham accused in court after drugs raids
- 7 Major tube strike to follow Queen's Platinum Jubilee long weekend
- 8 Zouma brothers to face the courts amid animal abuse allegations
- 9 Can you answer these 10 GCSE questions designed for 16-year-olds?
- 10 70 firefighters tackle Dagenham house fire
“That’s what brings us in to work, knowing that we’re making a contribution to their lives.”
The Barking nursery stayed open during the pandemic to support keyworker parents and took on students from the sister branches to offer wider support.
Faye said the nursery is getting back to normal now everything is opening up again
“We are a family,” she said. “It is definitely the Barney Bear's family.”
Leah added: “The children who came to us as tiny babies will now be turning 18 this year.
"I would welcome the class of 2004 to contact Sarah and I. We couldn’t have done this without our staff teams, the children and parents, along with our families.
"We are truly blessed to be part of the borough of Barking and Dagenham.”