Sharon Lee, Director of Shofar Daycare Nursery, explains the key role that the nursery has come to play within the local community just a year after its opening.
“During my 16 years running the Finchley Reform Synagogue Kindergarten, I lost count of the number of parents asking me for advice regarding the availability of a more flexible, full-time nursery that had Jewish values at its heart. When I heard that Finchley’s Sternberg Centre was up for sale, just over 3 years ago, I went to visit it with another colleague and got that feeling of excitement that it really might be possible to turn such a nursery into reality for the local community.
“Securing a loan from Charity Bank was very important in the funding of our social enterprise, by helping meet start-up costs and the lease of the site. Having Charity Bank’s backing meant we could go to other funders and secure more investment.
“We opened our doors on 12th February 2016 after gaining Ofsted approval. Although we cautiously hoped we might eventually welcome around 70 children into the nursery, all our expectations have been surpassed as a little over a year later we already have over 90 children. It speaks both of the need there was in the local community and the high-quality care and education we offer.
“We really are an integral part of the community now, creating a caring, safe and stimulating environment steeped in Reform Jewish values for babies and children aged six months to five years. The site itself is very welcoming and inspiring, with the building having been transformed into a wonderful space for children to develop. We are a charity who really have the community and its faith at the heart of everything we do. We give out bursaries and try to help families and parents however we are able.
“Charity Bank gave us great assistance and support in setting up Shofar Daycare Nursery; it wouldn’t have been possible without it. Now, alongside our two sister nurseries at Finchley and North Western Reform (Alyth) Synagogues, we are able to provide a wide breadth of childcare to support the development and growth of our community.”
“Having Charity Bank’s backing meant we could go to other funders and secure more investment.”Sharon Lee, Director of Shofar Daycare Nursery
Monique Banin is a parent representative at Shofar Daycare Nursery. Monique and her husband work full-time, confident in the fact their children are receiving high-quality childcare.
“Shofar Daycare Nursery opened at around the same time we moved to the Finchley area. Before this, we had been relying on nannies for our two children as it was impossible to find appropriate full-time daycare. Most of the nurseries in North London, whilst difficult to fault in terms of quality, are only open until 3.00pm at the latest, which doesn’t fit in with full-time working hours.
“My youngest child is still at Shofar Daycare Nursery, having moved up from the baby group to the toddler one, and my oldest is now at the primary school located on the same site.“Shofar offers something that no other local nursery can: full-time, reliably high-quality childcare run with Jewish values at its core. It’s wonderful knowing that our children are getting a Jewish-focused education right from the start and the way this ties in with our lives and local community as a whole.”