• Shofar Daycare Nursery to offer up to 75 nursery places
• Established by three community Jewish charities to provide flexible, all-day childcare
• Charity Bank loan helped towards start-up costs and the lease of the site at Finchley's Sternberg Centre
Two of the biggest Jewish Reform communities have come together with the Movement for Reform Judaism (MRJ) to launch a year-round daycare centre for babies and young children. Shofar Daycare Nursery, set up by Finchley and North Western Reform (Alyth) Synagogues and MRJ, has opened at Finchley's Sternberg Centre.
While both synagogues already have morning kindergartens which run during school term times, Shofar - the first of its type in the Reform movement – offers parents more extensive cover from 7.45am to 6.15pm, five days a week and for 50 weeks of the year.
Set up as a social enterprise, the nursery is open for up to 75 children from six months to five. The new facility is on three floors; the ground floor caters for pre-school children, the middle floor has been designed for babies and toddlers and the top floor is an open space used for music and fitness.
Sharon Lee, Director Shofar Daycare Nursery, said: “We aim to create a caring, safe and stimulating environment steeped in Reform Jewish values for babies and children aged six months to five years. By providing the highest quality care and education we will ensure that our children’s emotional and educational development and social well-being are at the heart of all we do.”
Charity Bank, the ethical bank that uses savings to make loans to charities and social enterprises, provided a £200,000 loan to contribute towards the start-up costs and lease of the building, in the grounds of the Sternberg Centre adjacent to Akiva Primary School.
“The Charity Bank loan was very important in helping us to fund our social enterprise and having its backing meant we could go out to other funders to secure more investment.”Sharon Lee, Director Shofar Daycare Nursery
Jaishree Mistry, Charity Bank lending manager, said: “Charity Bank exists to make sure that charities and social enterprises can always be there for the people and communities that need them. Local authority data showed unmet childcare demand and a clear need for more flexible childcare to support working parents in Barnet and this fantastic new facility will help address this need.”