Katrina Blunt, Chair of Windmill Preschool in Ivinghoe, Bucks, has today been announced as an Olympic Torchbearer. She will proudly carry the torch on Monday 9th July for her services to the local community.
Katrina took over as Chair of her local preschool in May 2010 as it was going through some difficult times. She, and the rest of the new voluntary Management Committee, were called to see the local authority to be told funding for the preschool was at risk of being withdrawn. They were also told that they may not be eligible to move from the village hall in Pitstone to new purpose-built premises being built in Ivinghoe.
For the next two years Katrina worked relentlessly to improve the quality of the preschool provision leading a team of parents on the committee and a team of eight staff, and to secure the new premises. Her first task was to recruit a new Preschool Leader as the setting had been without one for a number of months. Then, working with the new preschool leader, Katrina worked hard to improve every aspect of the provision including upgrading much of the equipment, better resource management including staffing and getting the finances under better control.
Katrina worked to build the staff and committee team, raised thousands of pounds in grants and donations and even ran the Grand Union Canal Half marathon in November 2010 to raise much-needed funds, raising almost £1,500 with two other parents who also ran.
The preschool was reassessed by the local authority towards the end of 2010 and agreed it would be eligible to move to the new premises due to improvements in quality of provision.
Planning to open the doors in the new building in January 2011, Katrina worked hard to secure this by securing the registration with Ofsted, and the tenancy agreement with the landlord – including driving round the village collecting the necessary signatures at the 11th hour. She then helped the staff team to physically move all the toys and equipment to the new premises during the snow of 2011.
Children numbers have increased significantly in the last year and the reputation of preschool locally has vastly improved. In May 2011, Ofsted came to inspect preschool and rated the setting as Outstanding, testament to all the hard work of the committee and staff.
Doing the equivalent of more than a full time job in a voluntary capacity, Katrina juggles her position as Chair of the preschool with bringing up two children and running her own business, BelleBelly, for which she has recently been awarded as one of the top 100 UK Mumpreneurs and been shortlisted for a Mumsclub Business Award.
Katrina Blunt said “I’m so proud to be carrying the Olympic Torch in July. All the hard work at preschool has been worth it to secure the future of preschool for all the children of Pitstone, Ivinghoe and the surrounding area as they start their life in education. And now to be recognised with the honour of being a Torchbearer is the icing on the cake!”