Childminder of the year ‘delighted’ with award
Gilnahirk woman Deirdre Crawford-Stevenson has been officially named Cow & Gate Childminder of the Year.
Deirdre was chosen from six finalists at an event at Malone House . The judges — the Chair of the Northern Ireland Childminding Association (NICMA), Liz McCorkell and the BBC’s Sarah Travers — said Deirdre represented all that’s good about registered childminding in Northern Ireland.
Deirdre was nominated for the award by Liz Smyth whose sons Noah (4) and Luke (3) she minds.
“Both the boys absolutely love Deirdre and really enjoy their time with her,” said Liz. “She is very inventive and creative in the activities she involves them in and is so thoughtful in remembering family birthdays with a lovely card and cake made by the boys. She is brilliantly organised and totally unfazed by the complex arrangements between different schools and nurseries. All in all, Deirdre is essential to making our family life function with minimum stress.”
Alison Hanna, of Cow & Gate, said: “Congratulations to Deirdre for having been selected the Cow & Gate Childminder of the Year. At Cow & Gate we are very proud of our association with NICMA and support its aim to have childminders recognised and valued as skilled, qualified professionals.”
Bridget Nodder, Director of NICMA, said: “We are very grateful to Cow & Gate for its long-standing support of the Association and for running these Awards, which are recognised as the Oscars of childminding, each year.
“Deirdre has attained the highest standards in her childminding profession and is to be congratulated on her achievement.”
Having been presented with her trophy and a cheque for £500 by Cow & Gate, Deirdre said: “I am absolutely delighted to win this award ..... just for doing a job I really love.”
She thanked the sponsors and NICMA “for all the support given over the years” and her family “who all help make my job a lot easier”.
“Without the help of my family I couldn’t be so stress free which, I think, helps the parents. I’ve childminded now for 32 years and looked after children for 40,” she added, “ But I hope I’ll be childminding for a lot of years yet.”