Case Study: Cuddles Day Nursery, Dorset

Cuddles Day Nursery, Dorset

A day nursery turned to us when it planned an extension of its play facilities and ended up with an area which delights the children and impresses parents visiting for the first time.

Emma Murray, Nursery Manager of Cuddles, in Dorset, said Hand Made Places was one of three providers which quoted for the £50,000-plus job but her prior experience of us and our prices made the decision a relatively easy one.

“I have had a couple of pieces before and I liked the design and the natural look and feel of them as well as the quality and of course, the price.”

Started in 2004, Cuddles has around 120 places for children up to the age of 14. A grant for expansion of its classrooms left some money for an extension of the early years playground too and a selection of items were chosen for the new area.

Included in the order were an extra large sandpit which lets youngsters engage in sensory play and helps them to interact with others, building their communication skills and confidence. Cuddles added our oak leaf table and seats, an ocean water tray and chute and one of our City Mini Micro World Tables, a freestanding play piece which among other things, encourages children to share. Perhaps the centre piece though was the spectacular Oakwood Galleon Boat which Emma says is a firm favourite with the youngsters.

For the groundwork we put down approximately 57 square metres of blue wet pour installed at a depth of 20mm and a further 538 square metres of black wet pour installed to the same depth. Elsewhere on the site we put down about 250 square meters of artificial grass surfacing in green.

The finishing touch was a colourful fence in red, green, blue and yellow for which we supplied around 40 metres of posts, rails and stiles and four picket gate frames for access.

Although a lot of the items came from our catalogue one piece was bespoke and here our ability and willingness to go the extra mile helped the client.

“I wanted a little climbing frame for the very smallest children, the two years olds, and while there are some pieces of equipment on the market a lot of them aren’t actually suitable. They are too high and there is the risk of falls and they just don’t really work.

“I asked Hand Made Places about this and they designed one to our brief and we are very pleased with it. This is typical of the support we have had from start to finish and another reason why I am happy with the company.”

The installation took just four weeks and our team had to accommodate the nursery’s opening times during the work.

“We did it in the summer holidays when we are still open but the team really worked with us, closing off one area at a time while they installed the pieces so the children could play in another, and it went as smoothly and easily as anyone could hope for. They did a brilliant job.”

Now that it is all in place Emma says she is delighted with the result.

“The children absolutely love it and you can see in their faces how much they enjoy playing on the pieces.

“But it is the parents who often give the biggest reactions. The playground is tucked away behind the classrooms and when I walk them through to it they just say `Wow, that’s amazing!’

“We have had a lot of feedback from both parents who already with their children here and first-time visitors considering us and they all say that the playground is a fantastic and very impressive resource.”

Emma added: “It was a challenge for Hand Made Places to design the one-off piece and to work with us on the installation but it was done quickly, with as little disruption as possible and I appreciate that.

“With the support they gave throughout the whole process and the quality of their workmanship we are happy that we had good value for money and as well as that, it is just a very good and pleasant company to deal with.”