Richmond Pre-school has been serving the community here in South Benfleet for over 50 years, providing childcare for children between 2 and 5 years of age. The Pre-school was started in 1965 by Joan Price in the old Catholic Church hall, now flats opposite Belgravia florists. Our next home became the old Richmond Hall situated where the toilets are now, in the Richmond car park, hence our name. Richmond Hall was rebuilt in 1987 and became our new home, where we stayed happily until September 1993 when we rented the demountable at the front of South Benfleet Primary School. No more getting equipment out and putting it away at the end of the session; relief to have sole use of the building and to be able to display children’s work on walls, happy days.
The building was growing old, built in the mid-60s, the annual safety check, in 2009, revealed extensive problems. Together with the school, we made a joint application for a capital build grant. After much form filling, we were successful, being granted £750k for the new building in July 2010.
The old building was demolished one Saturday morning and staff watched from the café opposite. It didn’t take long to fell. We moved into the school hall where we lived until the new building was opened by Eileen French, chair of governors of South Benfleet Primary School in January 2011. In 2015 we celebrated 50 years as a preschool.
Meet The Team
We have a dedicated, experienced and enthusiastic team of practitioners here at Richmond, led by the directors Maggie Catmull, Sarah Duffy and Katie Ramsey, employing over 20 practitioners who work directly with the children. We have our own bank staff too, so we never use agency staff. All staff have had an enhanced criminal records check through the Disclosure and Baring Service (DBS) and are qualified in line with Ofsted requirements. We always have staffing ratios in excess of those stated in the EYFS and all staff have attended paediatric first aid training.
We also have volunteers and students
For over 50 years the pre-school has been at the centre of the community. For many of those Pat Wright was running the pre-school. She has seen many children pass through the doors during her time here, even welcoming some of them back as parents. In recent years Pat has taken a step back and now after 42 years has decided to retire from the pre-school. Her passion for looking after children and her energy is what has made the pre-school what it is today. From all of us at Richmond we wish you a happy and healthy retirement.
We have a wonderful purpose built building with a dedicated outdoor play area that we try to use whatever the weather. We have sole use of the premises, providing two main rooms for the children, both with child sized toilets and sinks for handwashing. We have a kitchen area where we prepare snacks for the children and have an additional room where we can arrange private meetings, meet with parents/carers and run small group sessions with the children. The entire building is secure, using a card entry system.
*Covid-19 government guidance means we have had to make a few changes around the setting to ensure the children’s and staffs safety.