Hartford Homes helps local nursery raise life-saving allergy awareness

Monday 19th January 2015 |

Hopes & Dreams Nursery, which has facilities in Castletown, Douglas and Ramsey, has become the first on the Island to offer potentially life-saving allergy awareness training to its entire staff thanks to Hartford Homes.

Hartford sponsored the bespoke childcare-specific course for all 42 Hopes & Dreams nursery staff across its three sites, giving them a deeper understanding of food allergens and allergies, as well as issues such as cross contamination. Over the last few decades there has been a growing epidemic of allergy prevalence meaning the need for awareness has also grown.

Hopes & Dreams director Gary Peirce explains that at the very least, allergies can be isolating for children and in worst cases can be life-threatening. He said “Given the potentially fatal consequences, it is important that all of our teams understand how we can reduce the risks to children at nursery, and are trained should the need arise to treat children who suffer an allergic reaction.”

Run by the National Day Nurseries Association, the course supports new European Union legislation which took effect in December. The legislation requires that food businesses including nurseries provide clear allergy information for all food served. They must also ensure that staff understand and are able to inform customers about the existence of any of the 14 specified allergens within any dish served.  Previously, this information was only required on pre-packaged foods such as those on sale in supermarkets.

Mr Peirce said “We are very grateful to Hartford Homes for their support.  It has enabled us to provide training for all of our teams within a very short timeframe, supporting our staff to reduce the chances of allergic reactions and give them the confidence to deal with an allergic reaction if one occurred.”

James Greenhalgh, one of the directors of Hartford Homes, is all too aware of the issues that the growing epidemic of allergies creates for some families. He and his wife, Suzanne, helped to set up the Isle of Man Allergy and Anaphylaxis Support Group, which is actively spreading awareness and lobbying for changes on the Isle of Man to make life safer for children as well as adults with allergies.

Mr Greenhalgh said “As parents, we live with the daily risk of one of our children having a severe allergic reaction to a wide range of allergens and this has meant accessing nursery has been challenging. For this reason, we’re delighted to support and help ensure Hopes & Dreams is a safer and more inclusive place for all children who suffer with allergies.”

Mr Peirce added “This will give parents confidence that we understand the importance of safe practices and taking appropriate action immediately an issue arises – which could ultimately save a child’s life.”

Hopes & Dreams has cared for children from over 1,636 families on the Isle of Man since 1999 and now has three nurseries including one on Woodbourne Road in Douglas, The Buchan Nursery in Castletown and Parklands Nursery in Ramsey.

Photo caption: Hartford Homes director James Greenhalgh pictured with Hopes & Dreams’ Fiona McGarry and Gary Peirce and nursery children Lewis Richards, Owen Swain, Padraig Byrne, Alana Locker and Ethan Hannah.

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