A to Z challenge – N – August 2021

urseries often hire church premises. A building project can present a challenge to nurseries in at least two areas. The first challenge is if the nursery can continue to operate during the building work. This can be both from a safeguarding and a Health and Safety point of view. Safeguarding will dictate the protection of children and ensure their continuous safety. Building work can be disconcerting for everyone!  It is vital to review the work planned to eliminate any chance of a moment’s inattention on anyone’s part. Checking in and out procedures too need to be resilient in the face of potential distractions. There is a need too for permanent physical barriers to be in place at all times. By the same token, any work that is taking place near where children and adults are likely to be passing and repassing needs to be risk assessed and potential hazards identified. All parents and carers need to be made aware on a daily basis for the life of the project both the risk and hazards that are present and the protection measures that are in place. This is because different people may arrive each day. A means of telling people daily what is happening is important. It is clear that the building work should be planned to reduce any interface between the work and the nursery users to a minimum, especially during the times of arrival and collection at the nursery.

The second area of challenge is where a building project includes an area due to be used in future as a nursery. In any building project there is cost / benefit analysis undertaken and a church building project is no different. Works needed to secure Ofsted approval for a nursery, such as a private designated outside play area, may be seen to have a limited benefit to a church on a day to day basis yet it will have to be paid for. This additional cost must be balanced against the witness of the church through what it offers to the community. Often the provision of a nursery is a tremendous blessing to the local community. Some nurseries may be willing to support those on low incomes in the way they administrate their nursery. Moreover the daily coming and going will give the church the ability to engage with parents and carers as they arrive and leave, perhaps by offering a café service or a breakout activity. By doing the work the church is actually giving itself the chance to show the love of Jesus to those coming to their building and to reach out to them with the Gospel. This has to be added to the balance when weighing up the costs of any building project.