A LOCAL nursery group has achieved national acclaim with a double award win at the prestigious Nursery Management Today Awards.
Children 1st, a group of 15 family run nurseries located across the Midlands and South Yorkshire, two of which are in Tean and Meir Park, scooped the coveted Nursery Group of the Year Award, seeing off competition from rival companies across the country.
The award recognises and celebrates the achievement of leading providers of childcare across the UK and was presented by former England Rugby legend Austin Healey at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel on Saturday November 30.
On receiving the award, founder and executive chair of Children 1st, Margaret Mason, said: "Winning the Nursery Group of the Year Award is a fantastic achievement for Children 1st.
"This award has been made possible by the hard work of all our staff and the support of our parents throughout the year and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their contribution.
"I am delighted for all staff and everyone associated with the company that we won the award when up against stiff competition from companies across the UK."
There was double delight as Margaret also received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for her 57 years' tireless work in childcare and education.
The award recognises the outstanding contribution Margaret has made throughout her career in raising standards in nursery education and providing excellent childcare for youngsters across the Midlands and South Yorkshire.
Margaret began Children 1st Day Nurseries in 1988 and is still heavily involved in the running of the company, which has grown from a single site nursery in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, to a multi-site operation offering the very best in childcare and education in quality, homely environments.
Of the 15 Children 1st nurseries, 11 of them are rated as 'Outstanding' by Ofsted.
In addition to establishing Children 1st Day Nurseries, Margaret played a fundamental role in founding the National Day Nurseries Association, which has grown into one of the industry's most respected organisations.
Margaret said: "I have devoted my career to children and it gives me great satisfaction to think I have made a difference in their lives and helped them to get off to the right start in life.
"I know this is what motivates me and everyone associated with Children 1st and will continue to do so.
"No one enters into a career in the childcare and education sector because they are looking for awards and recognition but I am pleased that I was nominated and have managed to win."