During a 2004 PLANED town visioning session, a need for additional childcare provision was identified in Newport. From this initial identification, PLANED (acting as the Local Action Group for Pembrokeshire) went on to work with the region to provide LEADER funding and support in the form of research and feasibility studies. This support eventually led to the conversion of the local rugby club changing rooms with an extension for the use of childcare provision.
LEADER principles include helping to improve communities from the bottom up, through testing and sharing ideas, networking and co-operation. In line with these principles, the Newport Childcare Project started to develop through contacts and links with existing childcare providers – and funding advice from the PLANED social enterprise support officer. In 2007 the changing room was identified as a possible option, resulting in a LEADER funded feasibility study to investigate this and other location options. Once the study confirmed that the changing room would be the best option, the ‘Newport and Surrounding Areas Out of School Provision Group’ was established – followed by the constitution of ‘Newport Dros Plant/4 Kids’, a group who would work with the Playing Field Trustees and the Town Council to oversee the new facility.
A further detailed consultation involved linking with the local community, community councillors, representatives of community associations, forums, newsletter groups, key stakeholders and the rugby club – thanks to £8000 of LEADER funding.
These comprehensive LEADER funded studies put the town in a great position to eventually secure the money they needed to complete the project – and the creation of the constituted group has enabled further child-related initiatives to develop.