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Humble Beginnings

Shepherds Spring Pre-school Nursery Andover image Audrey Wilson, Founder:

"I moved from London to Andover in November 1966. I was married with one child and another on the way. I soon found lots of families who did not have childcare support - and those children and families were soon filling my house on a daily basis. Not long afterwards, health visitors would use my home to support families in need. It soon became apparent that my house was not fit for purpose and that a proper playgroup in a larger facility was of the utmost importance to continue to care for the families in Andover."
Shepherds Spring Pre-school Nursery Andover image
With the support of local doctors, health visitors and our local county counsellor, I was encouraged to find a suitable premises, which took us on quite a journey.

Old School

In 1967 we found a room in the old school in New Street and that sufficed for the short-term, but by 1969 the demand had grown and our county counsellor was able to secure a piece of land at the bottom of Cricketers Way. That's when the hard graft started, but in the end, we were able to find two prefabricated buildings and with the local community behind us, we opened our doors to 40 children in 1969.


Shepherds Spring Pre-school Nursery Andover image The challenges didn't stop there. We were facing financial difficulties, we needed as much as what the community could give us, and parents would work on a supportive rota to care for the children in return for free childcare. Fundraising was an absolute necessity at this point.
Shepherds Spring Pre-school Nursery Andover image
Many changes

Financial support came from an abundance of people in many different forms - raffles, radio talk shows, organised health walks - but as we were able to do more and we could offer Andover a better service, so the demand grew and soon we had 72 children amongst our flock - but our premises did not grow with us and we soon ran out of space! Not only did we need a larger premises, yet again, but in 1992 the New Children's Act was launched and that meant lots of changes and improvements would be necessary in order for us to keep our doors open.

We applied for a grant, which we received and was sincerely appreciated, but the local community and business stepped in to help save us. The Post Office came to our rescue along with the Test Valley Borough Council community officer and supplied not only the expert labour, but the donation of building materials such as new fencing, children's playground equipment, school supplies etc.

Shepherds Spring Pre-school Nursery Andover image Fast forward some happy years and we had outgrown ourselves yet again and we were offered the space where you can find us today at the Spring Meadow Children's Centre. It was a swift deliberation as the facility would allow us to offer the children so much more - and we certainly have over the years. I hope that your children will find as much joy in learning as we have in giving them the best foundation to life.


Shepherds Spring Pre-school Nursery Andover image


Mrs Audrey Wilson has been in the service of the Andover community for over 50 years, since moving from London to Andover in the late 1960's.

Mrs Wilson, outside of her many interests and passions such as gardening, is still involved with the pre-school, having just visited on a day trip towards the end of 2018 and continues to take an active interest in the children, parents and teachers of the school.

Audrey receiving
MP George Young, Baron Young of Cookham
Founder, 1967