Why does Little Cherries have a committee and what do they do?

Little Cherries is a registered charity – we exist solely for the benefit of the children who attend (and their families). Any profits we make get put straight back into the pre-school.

To help keep costs down and prices low, we don’t have a paid-for management team. Instead, we have a committee of volunteers who run the management side of things.

The committee have a wide remit: among other things we manage the pre-school’s budget, make sure it operates legally, organise fundraising events, develop publicity materials , agree the pre-school’s policies, manage admissions, make sure that the pre-school has the right equipment, ensure the building is maintained and plan development of the pre-school for the future. There are also a certain number of hands-on tasks which tend to be led by the committee, like helping at fundraising events.

So what’s the difference between the committee and the staff?

The staff, led by Anita, manage the day-to-day and term-to-term operation of the pre-school. They’re professional child-carers and are paid for the (wonderful) job that they do. The committee are unpaid volunteers with a range of skills other than childcare. They’re not involved in the actual business of childcare (we leave that to the experts!) but in decision-making, maintenance and administration of the pre-school.

Why do you want new people to join the committee?

It’s important to us that we know what current parents and carers want from the pre-school now and in the future, otherwise we might make decisions based on what we think you want rather than what you actually want. This is why the committee is legally obliged to include a minimum number of members with children currently attending the pre-school, indeed we cannot operate without 60% of the committee being current parents. Each September, we tend to lose a few parent members as their children move on to school, so we always need new parent volunteers to fill those gaps.

I can’t help – I don’t know anything about running a pre-school…

Nor did many of us when we started! The Committee is made up of a very mixed bunch of people, with different skills and interests. Some of us are working parents, some are stay-at-home parents, some of us have children who attended Little Cherries. The one thing we’ve all got in common is that we care about Little Cherries and want it to succeed. Obviously some roles, such as Treasurer, are difficult without some degree of expertise, but you don’t need any special skills to be on the committee, just enthusiasm.  You can learn the rest as you go along (the rest of us will help – we’ve been there too, after all).

Is being on the committee a big commitment?

It needn’t be. In general, you can get involved as much (or as little) as you like. We do ask that all committee members try to attend as many of the monthly evening meetings as possible. There are a few roles on the committee, like Chair, Treasurer and Secretary, which will – by their nature – be more demanding than others. Some areas, like fundraising, will have busy times and quieter times throughout the year. However, most members don’t have any specific role, so we can volunteer for particular tasks as and when we want to do so.

What’s in it for me?

Lots! You can meet new people, learn new skills, or use your existing ones in a new way. You can help to influence how the pre-school operates now and in the future. Above all, you’ll help to make Little Cherries as good as it can be (and if the warm glow that all that stuff gives you isn’t enough, it’s also a handy thing to be able to put on your CV…)

How can I find out more?

Come along to a meeting or chat to a committee member. Meetings are held monthly, usually on a Monday evening, during term time: the dates will be advertised in the newsletter and also on the notice boards. Alternatively, ask the staff to point one of us out to you (we’re really quite nice and very approachable…). The noticeboard in the entrance lobby has a list of current committee members.

Quotes from current committee members:

“I’ve found being on the committee a great way to meet new people, find out more about my daughter’s pre-school education, and feel like I’m doing something helpful.”

 “These are the main rewards I have obtained from being a Committee member:

  • The possibility of knowing the nuts and bolts of a pre-school setting.
  • The opportunity of providing input and having a say in decisions than can improve the educational experience and wellbeing of children in the community.
  • The opportunity to meet people with similar interests and share and learn from them skills that may go beyond the pre-school organisation.”

 “Being part of the committee means I really feel involved in shaping my child’s learning and development, and I actually influence what happens at Little Cherries”.

 “I have made some great friends and enjoyed working together to benefit our children”

“Since joining the Little Cherries committee I have felt a valued part of the local community. I have learnt many new skills and gained great experience to assist with going back intoemployment”

 What the committee means to Little Cherries by Anita Yates Lead Practitioner-

“Little Cherries strongly encourages the involvement of parents to help with our day to day running, organising fundraising and social events and with the management of the provision. As well as the benefits for children, volunteering on our committee has given parents the opportunity to meet other parents, get to know how we operate as a group, become more involved in the community and has widened their social network. For some they have been able to update existing skills and learn new ones. It has valuable long term benefits when applying for jobs or undertaking further training and looks good on your CV. We also have a laugh along the way. The more parent/carers that we can recruit onto the committee has the benefit of lessening the work load for everyone.”

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