Photo gallery: St Benedict’s pre-school in Lowestoft celebrates new era

Harvey Boggis with St Benedict's pre school children and staff as they officially announce their new

Harvey Boggis with St Benedict's pre school children and staff as they officially announce their new name change and unveil new logo with mascot Peppa the snail.The venue, which is changing names from Gunton pre-school to St Benedicts pre school after almost a decade, is also working on fund-raising/funding to improve children's outside play areaPicture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

Protect, play and grow – that is the motto of one Lowestoft pre-school.

But after a decade of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of youngsters aged between two and five, a new era dawned this week when it was renamed St Benedict's pre-school.

As the children returned after half-term, they were visited by Waveney MP Peter Aldous, who attended the first session on Monday to officially mark the name-change from Gunton pre-school.

With new uniform, logos and even a new pet mascot – Peppa the snail – more than 20 children from Gunton and north Lowestoft attend its daily three-hour sessions at St Benedict's Church in Hollingsworth Road.

Leanne Grant, pre-school leader, said: 'We have changed the name, have a new uniform and have linked in with the vicar (Rev Trevor Reiss) to promote the venue. The pre-school has been here about 10 years.

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'We can take up to 30 children and have six staff members and volunteers.'

As a registered charity, the pre-school is now looking for people and businesses to help it achieve its next aim – by donating time, skills and funds to help improve the children's outside play area.

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Previous support has been gratefully received from Adnams and the Help and East Coast Child appeal.

'We are looking for some funding to brighten up the outside area as we would like to make it more inviting with new play equipment and more colourful and stimulating for the children,' Mrs Grant said. 'We are doing our best with our own fund-raising, but if anyone could put their skills to good use to help us, it would be appreciated by us all.'

Speaking after the visit, Mr Aldous said he believed pre-schools had an important role to play.

'I am very much heartened by what I've seen today,' he said. 'St Benedict's has got some very dedicated staff providing very personalised support to the young pupils and they are doing great work. Groups like this have an important role to play working up to primary school and we need to give them as much support as we can.'

As well as providing a home for the pre-school sessions, the church also hosts the St Benedict's toddler group on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and rainbow, brownie and guides meetings.

The Rev Trevor Riess, rector of St Peter's Church with St Benedict's, said: 'I like to support it as much as we can. We have regular meetings and we try to balance in the needs of the whole centre.'

? For more details about the pre-school, ring 07791 849 899.

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