Role play enhanced with new nursery equipment

Ferrabyrne managing director Ken Horton and staff with children and staff in the new construction area at The Play Centre in Littlehampton
Ferrabyrne managing director Ken Horton and staff with children and staff in the new construction area at The Play Centre in Littlehampton

Young children have returned from half-term to find some exciting new equipment provided for their nursery.

Ferrabyrne, a manufacturing company based in Fort Road, Littlehampton, wanted to help the Play Centre Nursery at the Wickbourne Centre to enhance the children’s role play experiences and learning through play.

Inside the underground train, part of a station play tent

Inside the underground train, part of a station play tent

Ken Horton, managing director, explained: “Ferrabyrne has been a local employer for 47 years. Each year, we run a Christmas raffle and the company puts in all the prizes. The challenge to staff is to raise at least as much money as we have put in and all the money raised is spent on good cause.

“This year, the staff decided to help the Play Centre, as they were in need of a lot of new stuff. We wanted to make trains the focus and it has very much been about giving an impression of what work is like.

“We are a manufacturing business, making suspension systems for trains and heavy duty vehicles, so that is the theme and why we were keen to get a train somewhere in there.

“There is also a safety message to it, with hi-vis jackets and hard hats, so it is like a real working environment.”

Katie Simmonds, a buyer for Ferrabyrne, said staff brainstormed ideas to help the nursery and agreed they would set up a production office and construction role play area with toy tool benches, safety equipment, ride-on diggers and trucks

She said: “The children can have digger training and they will be able to use maths skills to estimate and predict, as well as learn about health and safety in the workplace.

“In addition to this, we have also donated lots of toys and props to make a doctors role play area and a restaurant-themed area.”

The new equipment was set up last week and most of the children and staff saw it all for the first time today, as they returned from half-term.

Nursery manager Mel Ruffell said the offer of help had come out of the blue.

She added: “It was completely unexpected, which is what was the lovely thing about it. They said they would like to help us out and donate some equipment. We have been overwhelmed with what they have done for us.

“They have redone the construction area and provided safety equipment like gloves, as well as things for the role play area. It adds inspiration and it is nice to get some new equipment.”