Posted: 22.02.21 at 15:05 by Beth Thomas
“Being open during the pandemic has been a mixture of stressful and incredibly rewarding,” Rebecca Treharne, owner of Mes Enfants nursery on Mumbles Road, told Nub News.
“We’ve done everything we possibly can to keep our little ones and the staff and parents safe, whilst trying to give the children a calm, happy, stimulating and most importantly ‘normal’ experience at nursery.”
Mes Enfants, a private nursery, was established in 2002 and provides care for around 32 children aged between 0 and five.
In March, the nursery was forced to close following the first lockdown, and said they were not needed enough by critical workers to remain open.
After re-opening in June, the nursery has now returned to its normal numbers and says it is very busy.
“Initially it was tough,” Ms Treharne said. “I did everything I could to gain funding to keep paying staff wages and negotiated with everyone with regard any monthly costs I had, to strip them back to their bare bones or to delay paying.”
Ms Treharne said she didn’t pay herself for months to keep the business afloat and ensure that staff could return to their jobs.
“Understandably, many parents didn’t want to pay invoices and I completely left this decision up to them,” she continued.
“Even though the future was uncertain, it didn’t seem right or fair to pursue people for fees, especially in such a difficult time.
“My staff and I are very close. They are my friends and have worked at the nursery for many, many years.
“We supported each other throughout. I made sure the staff felt safe and confident to return. Everyone agreed they wanted to come back, but it was and is very worrying at times.”
Ms Treharne said that the nursery has done its utmost to be as Covid safe as possible, giving parents more confidence for their children to return.
“We are very proud to be able to support and help our parents get on with their lives, even though we have families at home that we worry about too.”
The nursery has not had any PPE provided for them, however, Ms Treharne applied for a small grant to cover some of their costs.
As the Covid-19 vaccination rollout continues, those who work in nurseries have reported confusion about whether they can receive their jab.
Confusion has arisen over whether nursery workers fall under the ‘social care workers’ category, causing some to wonder whether they could book a vaccine appointment.
However, the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS and Department of Education have all said that early years workers are not considered social care workers for the purpose of vaccine priority.
The government has also added that ‘in most cases people who are eligible, those who provide face to face care or support children or adults who are extremely vulnerable, should be contacted directly by their employer and be given a letter to say they are eligible.’
“I do feel nursery nurses should be provided with the vaccine as a priority,” Ms Treharne told Nub News.
“We are in direct close contact on a daily basis with children. It is impossible to socially distance from under three-year-olds, who often need cuddles.”
Ms Treharne added that nursery staff undertake intimate care when assisting with nappy changing and toileting, feeding, and general play.
“We do feel very exposed however safe our systems and procedures are. We come into contact with up to 65 children a week.
“We would feel much more safe and confident if we had the vaccine, not only for us personally but more so the safety of the children in our care and our families.”
For more information about Mes Enfants, click here.