Parents get first glimpse of £200,000 new nursery in a former Northampton pub

Nursery manager Hayley Walker and business manager for Blackthorn Good Neighbours Kathryn White with parents and children at the new Blackthorn nursery.
Nursery manager Hayley Walker and business manager for Blackthorn Good Neighbours Kathryn White with parents and children at the new Blackthorn nursery.

A former pub in Northampton is gearing up to re-open as a day nursery after the completion of a £200,000 renovation this week.

Parents and children were given their first glimpse of what used to be the Pig and Whistle pub in Longmead Court, Blackthorn, at an open day yesterday.

Charity Blackthorn Good Neighbours (BGN) has converted the former nightspot into a nursery for two, three and four year-olds as part of moves to alleviate a shortfall in nursery places available in the east of Northampton.

The facility is set to open on January 26 and will be able to accommodate 32 children at any one time.

BGN’s business manager, Kathryn White, said: “We have already had a lot of interest in it so the places are going quite quickly.

“There are a huge number of people in Blackthorn that qualify for a free nursery place. That’s why we set this place up.

“There aren’t a lot of other nurseries close by and our research showed that many of those that are near are full up.”

The refurbishment has seen the interior of the former pub completely stripped and converted into two main rooms for day nursery activities.

The £200,000 Blackthorn Good Neighbours Nursery was paid for via a series of grants, in particular from Northamptonshire County Council, Northampton Borough Council and Growing Together, a £1 million fund for Lings, Lumbertubs, Blackthorn and Goldings courtesy of the Big Lottery Fund.

However, before the site closed as a pub in September, several local residents had signed a petition to keep it open as a venue.

Former regular, Michelle Smithson, feared turning the venue into a nursery could “break up” the community” around Longmead Court.

But Ms White said: “This building is going to be a family centre. It will be more than just a nursery.

“There is already a community room available. Eventually we are hoping to renovate the upstairs flat and make that available for community use as well. We will be doing things for older children and adults, a lot of events around health and education.

“There will be more people coming into this building than ever went into the pub.”

Anyone interested in a nursery place can call Northampton 413504.