History-Funfishers Out of School Club, Nursery & Pre-school

Brief history and development of the club

1990 Funfishers After School Club was set up by a group of parents who needed out of school childcare. The club was one of the first after school clubs to be established in the City of York. The Club occupied a disused classroom in Fishergate School.

1998 Funfishers was awarded a grant of £92,000 from the National Lottery Charities Board to lease and refurbish a disused building in Fishergate School playground. The Club moved to new premises in September 1998 and offered places for 30 children.

2000 The Breakfast Club opened. Start-up support was provided through grants from City of York Council and the Fishergate Ward Committee.2001 With the assistance of a grant amounting to £9,096 from the New Opportunities Fund, Funfishers Holiday Club opened in Summer 2001.

2005 Fishergate School donated six personal computers which enabled Funfishers to provide a computer suite for the children’s use. Games suitable for all our age groups make this a popular option for the children.2006 The upstairs area was refurbished into a “Chill out” zone for Years 5 and 6, funded by a Sure Start grant from City of York Council. This increased the number of childcare places available to 40.

2007 We opened a Playgroup catering for children aged 2-5 years, assisted by a New Places grant awarded by City of York Council and donations from the York Children’s Trust, the York Common Good Trust, and the Norman Collinson Charitable Trust. We have also got an allotment (down Kilburn Road), this has had extensive work done to it as it was like a jungle, the children make regular visits and are growing "our own produce" (hopefully!!!!)Funfishers acheived Step Three to Quality Assurance, being one of the first out of school clubs to receive this prestigous award.

2008 The premises had major refurbishment work, upgrading and painting the internal areas to the club. A successfull funding bid from Awards for All was granted to continue the good work that the team do here in promoting outdoor activities and a more healthy lifestyle to all children in our care.October half term saw the re-opening of the holiday club, this had been closed due to the decline in numbers of children using the club, but after re-assessing what we offer and several meetings with parents and the committee we have now been able to continue this provision. The age range now is 3-11 offering parents/carers a greater opportunity for younger children and siblings to join us here in the holidays.

2009 A new external door and gate security system was introduced enabled by City of York Capital funding Bid we had an excellent ofsted inspection.

2010 Holiday Club successfully opened for the week preceding Christmas, for the first time, providing wrap around care for many children who have working parents or have parents who needed to do some last minute shopping.

2011 Playgroup attained step 1 ‘steps to quality’ in June. Lesley Calvert, manager achieved First Class Honours degree (BA) in Leadership Children Workforce, and Becky Calvert, Playgroup co-ordinator, completed foundation degree (FdA)in young children’s learning and development. The afterschool club team achieved a green rating in the local authority’s audit of the environment and support that Funfishers offers for childrenOfsted approved a new registration for the capacity of 28 early-years children. The upstairs area in the building has now been transformed into a learning zone area. It is used during the day time for pre-school children and in the evenings for older children at the after school club (years 5-6) as a ‘chill-out’ zone.Since June 2011 the club has for the first time in its history been able to accommodate 2-5 year olds in term-time and during school holidays, thus providing much needed all year round continuous wrap around care for parents in the community with children of this age and siblings that already attend.

2012An Ofsted inspection judged Funfishers to be ‘Good’ overall and ‘Outstanding’ in diversity and working with parents/partnerships within the community. Funfishers is piloting the ‘Rights Respecting School Award’. Funfishers also piloted the City of York Council Inclusion Framework, which has now being rolled out to all clubs across the city.

2013 Ofsted conducted an Early Years provision inspection and this was judged to be ‘Good’ The outside area was improved with more written words in order to enhance the reading and writing opportunities for the playgroup children.Following consultation with the schools and community that achieved a consensus view that the future sustainability of Funfishers is to adapt its provision to take-in younger members to the club by extending the floor space upstairs, an architect was commissioned to prepare drawings to enable Funfishers to seek planning consent to increase the useable floor area upstairs, to take children under the age of two, by extending the area of mezzanine and providing additional WC facilities. Funfishers saved its own money, fundraised and applied for various grants to be able to afford to continue with this project should planning permission be granted.Funfishers linked with 4Children and City of York Council to pilot partnership hubs across the country. This opportunity for a two year trial, enabled by funding from the government, not only gave Funfishers a chance to support other areas to start a new partnership group but also enabled Funfishers to expand and revisit what it already did, building on the link that for many years , as a club, Funfishers has had with the local early years foundation partnership incorporating the schools, nurseries, childminders in the local area and the local authority.

2014 Following planning approval being granted a builder was contracted to build Mezzanine floor extension during the summer holidays to provide dedicated space for Early Years childcare and care for babies. The grand opening of the upstairs area took place in October and families, friends, and partnership groups joined Funfishers to see Anna Longfield (CEO for 4Children) cut the ribbon to open the new baby area. This extension and stocking it with resources for children from the age of 9 months to 2 years of age was made possible with the help of grants from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Awards for All, together with careful budgeting within the club. New staff have been appointed ready for the area to take in babies from January 2015.2015The baby area opened in January, and since its opening it has gone from strength to strength. The children are enjoying this new area giving the younger members of the club a much needed area of their own to play and learn in a safe and supported environment. The manager of the setting was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year’s honours list for services to education. This is a great honour and a privilege to receive, not just the Manager herself but also for the club, in recognising the hard work that goes into making the setting and people within it a great place to be for all families and children that attend.The pilot scheme that Funfishers joined to create more partnerships across the country came to an end in March. As can be seen from the 4Children website, it has been a great success in many areas for joined up working with both families and professionals within our sector. This has had such positive outcomes that the government has now decided to promote this for a further year; funding 4Children to enable the number hubs to increase to 25. Funfishers decided to stay involved in this project to enable its setting to move forward to continue to support all the families and children and others within the community that Funfishers serves.

2016All the clubs across the age groups have gone from strength to strength and continue to grow, to a point where we are seeing the highest number of children ever. This has contributed to carrying 2015’s healthy financial position forward throughout the year, taking into account the considerable outlay in 2014/15 for financing the construction of the mezzanine extension.The club purchased 4 iPads and TAPESTRY software for recording children’s learning journeys and making them available to each child’s respective parents on-line (replaced manuscript learning journey books).The Secretary of the Trustees made initial enquiries into Pensions auto-enrolment for eligible employees. Part 1 of the Inclusion Framework achieved.

2017An Ofsted inspection judged Funfishers to be ‘Good’ overall.Funfishers is a participating setting in the pilot provision of 30 hours free childcare for working parents.

2018 We have submitted planning to build an extention to allow us to expand with the rising demand for Funfishers.

2020 We went through a global pandemic, managing to remain sustainable and still providing quality childcare for children. We closed the setting from 23rd March 2020 to 20th July 2020 through the first lockdown. We reopened partially in July 2020 opening holiday club then returning our Early Years Childcare from september 2020. We gradually reinstated afterschool club and breakfast club later in the year. 

2021 The setting was saddened by the sudden loss of our long standing, committed manager Lesley Calvert BEM, parents raised some money for a memorial bench to be placed within the setting grounds as a place to remember her. Katie Hatfield became the new manager of the setting.