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Popular nursery recognised in national construction awards

Housing Group Orbit and facilities management partner Mitie, are celebrating their success at the London and South East Constructing Excellence Awards for their collaboration in the delivery of the Little Daydreams Nursery in Slade Green.

Orbit invested £20,000 and working with Mitie, refurbished Orchard House, an unused, dilapidated building into a fit-for-purpose, state-of-the-art nursery in just three weeks. From site surveys to completion, Mitie created a brand new day centre complete with sensory room, management office and kitchen facilities.

Positioned in the heart of the Slade Green community, Little Daydreams now provides a central hub for children with special needs to grow and learn. Since opening its doors in 2016, the nursery has provided childcare for 42 families. Among those are three children with severe additional needs who had previously been turned away from other local facilities.

On winning the ‘Value Award’, the judges said: “This is a fantastic example of where long-term social value has been created within and beyond a community – starting with virtually nothing but a vision, an old building, determination and perseverance.”

Three years ago Orbit piloted a self-employment programme through social enterprise, Enterprise Cube. Fifty-six customers’ enrolled onto the programme which included pitching a business idea to a panel of Orbit’s senior management team in a Dragons Den style finale.

One of those customers was Hayley Hardy, a single mum from Slade Green who had just fought and won a battle with a serious illness and entered the programme wanting to set up a local day care centre for children with additional needs. Eric Hodges, Placemaking and Partnerships Manager at Orbit, heard Hayley’s story and helped her develop her business case, secure a loan and provide in kind support through utilising the unused space at Orchard House.

Hayley said: “With the support from Orbit and the refurbishment by Mitie I was able to open Little Daydreams Nursery. We provide care for children aged 2-5 years of mixed abilities and needs, strongly believing that all children deserve the best possible start to an early education. We have created a lovely learning environment.”

Due to demand, Hayley has now taken on five employees and apprentices to help her run the popular nursery.

Eric Hodges, Placemaking and Partnerships Manager at Orbit added: “The true winners of this award are the amazing people, like Hayley, who live in our Orbit properties and tirelessly work towards changing hundreds of lives every day. This is in recognition of not just Orbit and Mitie, but all of the amazing people in our communities.”

Andre Peters, Senior Community Investment Manager at Mitie said: “This has been a perfect example of the greatness that can be achieved through partnership work. Mitie are passionate about the communities we serve and will do everything we can to deliver projects that truly have a positive impact on customer’s lives. It’s refreshing to work with a client such as Orbit that holds the same enthusiasm and values that we do. We look forward to our up and coming projects!”

The Constructing Excellence awards celebrate and recognise innovative construction projects, talented individuals and partnership working.