SISTERS and founders of The Cheshire Day Nursery Group are celebrating a combined total of 50 years' childcare provision as they re-open their doors.

Brenda Burling and Julie Mannering opened their first setting on Grammar School Road, Latchford, in 2000, adding a Kindergarten on-site and an additional nursery in Guardian Street a decade later.

Two further settings were opened in 2015 in Winwick and Thelwall, completing a childcare portfolio with a combined half-century heritage.

Having maintained early years provision for the children of key workers throughout the pandemic, all settings re-opened on Monday.

"It has been an honour to support all our registered children and their families throughout this challenging time," said Brenda, who is a registered midwife and nurse.

"We have enabled key workers to focus on providing vital services, knowing that their children have all the love and attention each day that supports them in their continuous education and development.

"All parents have received personal assessments and activities to do at home with their children by post and via our FamlyTM app.

"From taking part in the ‘Strictly Keep Dancing Challenge’ and the ‘World’s Biggest Virtual Tea Party’ to reading stories via Facebook, the Cheshire Day Nursery family has adapted to lockdown with creativity and compassion."

A key worker station at each nursery has provided free hot drinks and pastries every morning, courtesy of the group, while Guardian Street welcomed neighbouring NHS staff from Wakefield House and Warrington Hospital for a singalong.

Julie, who has three grandchildren, said: "Childcare practitioners are classed as critical workers by the government.

"We have been honoured to provide a vital service to support parents who have had no choice but to go to work.

"Now that our doors are re-opening, we look forward to welcoming back all our registered children, as well as any new families who are looking for outstanding early years care.

"We will be operating in line with the Department of Education’s guidance on reopening, as well as implementing protective measures."

Brenda and Julie have six children of their own, including Felicity Mannering, who has worked at all five settings over the past decade.

Although plans are on hold for a joint celebration in honour of the group’s golden anniversary, each setting will be marking the occasion in its own way.

"After 10 years with the company, ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted ratings and a team to be so proud of, we will continue to care, love and nurture our children,” said Emily Portwood, manager at Guardian Street.

"We will be welcoming new families into our settings for many more years to come."