We have been providing quality childcare, holiday activities and study support for children and young people aged 8 - 16 since 2000. Our personal approach is guaranteed with a minimum staff to child ratio of 1:6 and a low staff turnover.


Margaret Ansell BSC Hons, PGCE, Ad Dip SEN, NVQ Level 3 Playwork, MA Psychological Therapies with Children, Young People and Familes.

Margaret is a qualified teacher of 30 years, with 18 years experience of running after school and holiday care. She trained in Psychological Therapies with children, young people and families at the Tavistock and Portman clinic. She has a particular interest in the emotional well-being of children, and young people. She uses her specialized knowledge to inform the practice in our clubs. and to provide therapy for children, young people and families both individually and in groups.


The right people for your children

Staff and volunteers complete application and medical forms. They are interviewed, references are taken, and checks are carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service.

The names and photos of staff and volunteers are displayed.

All staff and volunteers are chosen because they

•    Can create positive relationships with young people
•    Provide positive role models
•    Have endless enthusiasm, patience, energy and stamina

Those who are students studying for A levels at local schools and colleges also

•    Have experience of organising groups of young people
•    Have a good academic record
•    Understand the pressures and demands homework can place on young people

Those who are University Undergraduates or Postgraduates will also have experience in their specific subjects and may well be undergoing further training.

Some people are specialists in a particular area, e.g.: Drama, Dance and ICT. Others have valuable skills in including children with additional needs.

Richard NVQ Level 3 in Child Care.
Richard has a wealth of experience working with children. He is a great advocate for play, fairness and cooperation. We are very lucky to have him managing the Nest he works with his team to create a safe, nurturing, stimulating environment. He works hard for us Monday to Thursday both in the evenings and behind the scenes training staff, carrying out admin and planning messy things for your children to do. 
Away from Firm Foundations his many other roles include being an NVQ assessor, training Early Years Childcare Workers, being a befriender to young people with additional needs and running a youth projects for Mencap.


Emma BA Hons in English, NVQ Level 3 in Child Care.

Emma has worked with us for 9 years, rising through the ranks to Deputy Manager and Administrative Officer and then to Manager in July 2007. After two maternity breaks she now works part-time. She plans the menu, orders the food, cooks many of the meals, and makes sure everyone has a tasty tea.

"I started working for The Study Zone during the final year of my degree, with the intention of becoming a teacher. However I found that being able to support the children in both their studies and their play is very rewarding. After a spell as manager, I have a family of my own and I appreciate even more that the extra layer of care and individual attention the children receive here really makes a difference."

Owen is Deputy Manager of The Study Zone. With a degree in History, an MA in Irish Literature and the plan to begin a PhD in Literature (Samuel Beckett to be more accurate) and the patience of a saint we are very fortunate that he also enjoys working with us five nights a week. He has 10 years experience in play work and is all too capable of helping the students with their English homework and written tasks. He is hoping that the money we pay him will fund his PhD.


Alisha has now joined Richard in the Nest as a Trainee Deputy Manager. She has completed her NVQ Level 3 as an Early Years Educator and works in the mornings in a day care nursery. Ultimately she wants to train to be a Midwife but, thankfully for us, not yet. 

Shakila is our wonderful cook. The teas speak for themselves really. Emma prepares the menu’s and orders the food. Shakila then cooks. Cooking such lovely food for up to 54 children a day is quite a task and a testament to her hard work and skill. She also has experience working in early years day care and has run her own Saturday School in the past. 


Bev who, works in The Nest three nights a week, has a wealth of experience, being the mum to four children aged between 11 & 24 years. She has just completed a course at The Tavistock and Portman Clinic which focuses on the emotional needs and development of children in a care setting. 


Eli works in both The Nest and Study Zone. She has recently joined us. She has experience in retail management and is now hoping to move to work in education. We are hoping to provide her with the experience she needs to do so. 


Shughoofa is in her second year of a degree in Neuroscience at Brunel. Whilst Aarti is finishing her first year at Kingston University studying for a degree in ‘Working with Children and Young People’. Clare, Loren and Martha are planning to go to University next year to read Product Design, Psychology and English with German respectively. Martha is hoping to take up the place she has been offered at Oxford. Eljona and Rowan both have an interest in Film. Eljona is doing a BTEC in Film Studies at Richmond and Rowan, after completing his A Levels is hoping to join the industry as a runner and work his way up.


David, Theo, Dan and Stephanie will soon be back from University to work at The Chill Out Zone. They are studying Economics with Japanese, Physics, Economics with German and Forensic Chemistry respectively. It’s always lovely to see them when they return, they become very interesting role models and I know how much they enjoy working with the young people over the summer.