Stow Kids Club gets top marks

Stow Kids Club. Zara Brown, centre.

Stow Kids Club. Zara Brown, centre.

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Stow Kids Club continues to improve, with a recent unannounced visit by the Care Inspectorate rating it as ‘very good’ across the board.

The inspection was carried out at the end of May and showed a marked improvement on the previous inspection, carried out last year.

Comments given to inspectors included: “I feel the care and support for my child has been excellent and continuously positive” and “Stow Kids Club is a very valuable resource, allowing many parents in Stow to be able to work. The staff work hard at making the club a safe, enjoyable place to be.”

Inspectors said it was clear club staff had the interests of the children at heart.

The report stated: “We saw them encouraging them to be independent in their play, giving them opportunities to make choices, and helping them when needed. It was clear staff knew the children very well.”

And in their feedback, parents had also been positive, with all those questioned agreeing that they were very happy with the quality of care their children receive at the club.

It has been a long road for the club following a highly- critical report published in March last year, which followed an inspection the previous October.

The service had been told to make more than 20 improvements by the Care Inspectorate, and was graded ‘weak’ for the quality of management and leadership, ‘adequate’ for quality of care and support and quality of staffing, and ‘good’ for the quality of environment.

However, a further inspection in June, 2013, showed progress was being made, with improvements in the gradings. And this year, inspectors were finally able to award five-star ‘very good’ scores across all four criteria.

Since March this year, the club has been overseen by part-time manager, Zara Brown.

She told us: “The club, as you know, was in local and national tabloids after a very negative care inspectorate unannounced inspection.

“I had read this story and knew I could help. It so happened that the committee was looking for a new manager to run the club. So in March this year, I was offered the part- time post of manager and left my job as a nursery manager.

“Some improvements were already being made, but there was a fair bit still to do and we’re all so proud of all the hard work that has been done in such a short space of time to turn the club around, with the fantastic help of the children, staff and committee members.”