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Vote for Hope by backing Shankill nursery in funds bid, says Mayor

By Lindsay Fergus

It is not a scene you would see every day, but Sinn Fein’s Niall O’Donnghaile has gone back to school — on the Shankill.

The Belfast Lord Mayor turned up at Hope Nursery in the loyalist stronghold yesterday to throw his weight behind the school’s drive to win the Help Dora Help Fund.

To the obvious delight of the 52 three and four-year-olds who attend the nursery, the Lord Mayor took time out to bake Play-Doh cakes, get his hands wet playing boats, banging drums and talking about pirates and treasure. Hope Nursery, which is located in Northern Ireland’s second most socially deprived area, is the only nursery from here to make it to the final of the Help Dora Help Fund.

It is up against four other UK nurseries in the battle to walk away with the coveted £20,000 prize fund. Mr O’Donnghaile has called on everyone to back Hope Nursery in its efforts to win the competition.

He said: “It’s a great set-up and they are doing great work in the heart of the Shankill. This nursery needs your vote. You can only have one vote cast per computer so I am calling on people in Northern Ireland and beyond to get behind Hope Nursery.”

Sandra Andrew, principal of Hope Nursery, explained: “If this nursery was not here the majority of these children would be at home.”

In the middle of a sprawling housing estate, surrounded by steel fences, Hope Nursery has done its best to create outdoor play areas for the children, but in the tight financial climate it doesn’t have the resources to boost its facilities.

The nursery’s bid will be broadcast\[k.mcerlean\]to households across the UK on Nick Jr and shown at where viewers can vote for it to win. Voting closes October 31. To vote for Hope Nursery go to

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