Central England Nursery of the Year Little Lodge

NDNA Awards 2022: Meet our 2022 award winners: Little Lodge Nursery

The prestigious annual awards event to celebrate the fantastic achievements of our member nurseries make a return for 2023. We want our members to put their nursery settings and staff under the spotlight and celebrate their brilliance in 2023.

We’re delighted to hear from Vivek Shah, Director of Little Lodge Nursery, about their experience entering and winning the Central England Nursery of the Year Award 2022.

What made you enter your setting for the NDNA 2022 awards?

I really wanted to acknowledge the achievements of the nursery and all of the staff over the last two years. Lockdown was incredibly challenging, not only for Little Lodge, but the entire sector and people across the country in general. Little Lodge has grown exponentially during this time and the way our staff have pulled together to deliver an engaging, innovative learning and development programme to help children under our care thrive is both inspirational and motivating as we constantly strive for improvement. By entering the NDNA Nursery of the Year award, we wanted to help raise the profile of children’s nurseries within our local authority by aiming to be recognised for our achievements in the nursery sector.

How did you feel when your setting was shortlisted for the Nursery of the Year award?

It was an incredibly proud moment for myself and everyone at Little Lodge. To be shortlisted out of hundreds of nurseries across the country was an incredible achievement and a testament to the dedication and hard work our people show every day in caring for our children. We took the whole team to the awards ceremony and it was extremely exciting to give them something to look forward to at the first face to face awards ceremony in three years.

What did winning the award mean to you and your setting?

To be recognised at a national level across the sector for our efforts and achievements over the past two years is an honour for both myself and everyone at Little Lodge. I see how hard my team work every day and winning the England Central Nursery of the Year Award has given us all the inspiration to achieve more and set our standards even higher than they have been previously. We’re very excited about what the future holds and it’s given us the confidence to embark on a second nursery and continue to grow at Little Lodge.

What has been the biggest benefit to winning the award for your setting?

Firstly, it has been incredibly rewarding for our staff. The nursery sector is currently facing a national recruitment and retention crisis and we have found that being able to say we’re the NDNA Nursery of the Year for England Central has helped us keep our current staff and offers an attractive place to work for when we need to attract new practitioners. It’s also great recognition for the setting in the local area and on a national level across the nursery sector as to win the Nursery of the Year award means you have to come out on top against other exceptional nursery settings. It has really helped us stand out and gain recognition for our achievements.

Why would you encourage people to enter the 2023 awards?

Entering the NDNA Awards is completely free to members. It’s a fantastic way to gain recognition in the local area. Parents can be proud to say that my child goes to Little Lodge, the England Central NDNA Nursery of the Year. I think it’s also great for morale amongst your staff. It helps recognise their hard work and commitment in a job that can be challenging at times, but extremely important and rewarding. We place incredible value on our people at Little Lodge and entering the NDNA Awards is just one way we show our appreciation.

What is the most rewarding aspect of winning the award?

It’s extremely rewarding to be acknowledged amongst your peers as an award winner. There are many outstanding nursery settings that enter the NDNA Awards, so to be in that company of current award winners is incredibly satisfying. I will always strive for improvement at Little Lodge as we want to provide the best experience possible for children, but we can now always say we’re an NDNA Award winner.

How did parents/carers react to you winning the award?

They were thrilled when they found out we won. It’s good for us too that parents and carers will now talk about this to their friends, family and work colleagues. It is extremely positive recognition for Little Lodge and that more people will hear about our achievements.

Will you be entering the 2023 NDNA Awards?

Absolutely. We can’t wait to enter the 2023 awards. We’re also looking at other categories we can enter too!

Finally as a previous winner, do you have any top tips to nurseries looking to enter the 2023 awards?

The best piece of advice I can give is to be original and don’t be afraid to shout about all of the good things about your nursery. Focus on your unique selling points, your achievements and what makes you stand out from other nurseries in your local area. Give yourself plenty of time to put your award submission together and don’t leave it until the last possible minute. It’s absolutely worth entering the NDNA Awards and doing the best job you can with your application.

If you are an NDNA member, you can register your nursery, view all of the available award categories and apply for the 2023 NDNA Awards here – https://www.votendna.org.uk/

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