THE COMMUNITY HELPED US GROW
With the support of local doctors, health visitors and our local county counsellor, I was encouraged to find a suitable premises, which took us on quite a journey.
In 1967 we found a room in the old school in New Street and that sufficed for the short-term, but by 1969 the demand had grown and our county counsellor was able to secure a piece of land at the bottom of Cricketers Way. That's when the hard graft started, but in the end, we were able to find two prefabricated buildings and with the local community behind us, we opened our doors to 40 children in 1969.
The challenges didn't stop there. We were facing financial difficulties, we needed as much as what the community could give us, and parents would work on a supportive rota to care for the children in return for free childcare. Fundraising was an absolute necessity at this point.
IT TOOK SOME FANCY FOOTWORK
Financial support came from an abundance of people in many different forms - raffles, radio talk shows, organised health walks - but as we were able to do more and we could offer Andover a better service, so the demand grew and soon we had 72 children amongst our flock - but our premises did not grow with us and we soon ran out of space!
Not only did we need a larger premises, yet again, but in 1992 the New Children's Act was launched and that meant lots of changes and improvements would be necessary in order for us to keep our doors open.
We applied for a grant, which we received and was sincerely appreciated, but the local community and business stepped in to help save us. The Post Office came to our rescue along with the Test Valley Borough Council community officer and supplied not only the expert labour, but the donation of building materials such as new fencing, children's playground equipment, school supplies etc.
Fast forward some happy years and we had outgrown ourselves yet again and we were offered the space where you can find us today at the Spring Meadow Children's Centre. It was a swift deliberation as the facility would allow us to offer the children so much more - and we certainly have over the years.
I hope that your children will find as much joy in learning as we have in giving them the best foundation to life.