NOMINATIONS open tomorrow Tuesday (March 23) for the sixth Hyndburn Business Awards.

At last year’s business awards childminders Laura and Andy Bradshaw had their hard work rewarded when Bright Beginnings won the Customer Friendly Business award, having been nominated by satisfied customers. They continuously evolve their home to provide the children in their care with new experiences to prepare them for school. Laura became a childminder in April 2014, having previously worked at Blackburn University Centre in Early Years. Andy joined the family business, based at their Accrington home, two years ago when the print finishing company he worked for closed down. Their son Reece, who is in his final year of his university degree in Accounting, also works part-time as the company’s financial planner.

Laura said: “When the first lockdown was announced I was scared to death. We had no idea that we were just going to get told we had to close the next day and we were worried about how we were going to pay the bills.”

Having already bought craft items for Easter, the next event after March 23 lockdown, Laura put them into kits and provided them to the children to use in their own homes. She said: “When the children could not attend, we had video calls with them, saw them on the doorstep and planned for their return. We used the time to carry out work on the house to improve what we could provide. We had also taken on an allotment that is just a short walk from here in Arden Hall and we made it ready for the children.”

Last June, when the children returned, the allotment had a messy play area and chickens, the children planted seeds and a new wooden play area with swings has been added. Laura said: “We have 13 children over the week and seven each day. It is always mad busy and there is a lot of ‘in the moment planning’ – especially when the weather is good because then we always go out. The children that come to Bright Beginnings are all good friends and so are their parents and they stay with use right up until they go to school.”

To prepare them for school, and so parents don’t have to worry about their clothes getting mucky, Laura introduced a bright purple uniform with a yellow logo. A first aid for children week will make sure they know how to use the telephone and raise the alarm in an emergency and have experience of bandages and simple first aid. The children are also going to be provided with litter pickers so they can clean the area around the allotment in Arden Hall in safety, while also learning about the environment and recycling.

Laura said: “We provide care around what the parents need and make it the best fun we can.”

Nominations are open until April 27 and the presentation, hopefully this year at Accrington Town Hall, is planned for June 22, but that may move if the national roadmap does not go according to plan.

The awards are organised by Enterprising People and to nominate a business, charity or enterprising person visit

Story by Catherine Smyth Media