Randolph Beresford Centre

Randolph Beresford Early Years Centre

Tracing its roots back to the Livingstone Infant School built in the 1950's to accommodate the large number of children on the White City Estate in West London, the Randolph Beresford Early Years Centre was established in April 1999 as part of the Government's 'Centre of Excellence' Scheme.

The Centre offers a 'One-Stop' facility for families with children under five and training for parents and practitioners within the local area. The drop-in facilities provide a mix of accommodation suitable for crèches, parent and toddler groups, playgroups and adult classes.

As the Centre developed and its usage expanded, the Local Authority agreed to fund an increase in the building's facilities. It was decided to move the Head Teacher's office from the main building to an outdoor room in the playground to free up much needed space in the main Centre. The outdoor room was subdivided to also provide staff with a dedicated Preparation, Planning and Assessment (PPA) space and staff meeting room. The outdoor room was designed to be self-contained with washroom and kitchenette facilities avoiding the need to continually return to the main building.

A key feature of the new building had to be that it could be used year round and be warm enough in winter but cool in summer. The materials proposed by Rooms Outdoor were a timber frame with high levels of insulation which would both regulate temperature and minimise energy consumption at the same time. The outdoor room was attractively clad in Red Cedar and a green roof added to its sustainable credentials. It also provided a talking point among families about green issues as well as creating a future haven for wildlife in the city. Sliding doors provided easy access for those with impaired mobility and the outside decking area was an attractive addition allowing for multi-functional use of the building.

A number of issues had to be overcome prior to construction, not least because the development was to be on the site of a factory previously used to manufacture equipment in World War II. Rooms Outdoor were able to provide assistance in co-operating with the Local Authority's requirements and sourced a specialist consultancy to carry out the necessary contamination testing. All planning permission issues were also handled by Rooms Outdoor on behalf of the Centre.

During construction, access to the location of the new outdoor office had to be via the main Centre and security and safety of the children was obviously key. However due to the modular nature of the construction where much of the work was completed off-site, the deliveries and installation were carried out while the Centre remained fully open and minimal disruption was caused to the Centre users.

The new staff area has been of real benefit to the teachers in allowing them a bespoke quiet area in which to plan and prepare and they have found it to their advantage being outside the busier main Centre. Confidential meetings can now be held both by staff and Head Teacher with lower levels of disruption and in more spacious and comfortable surroundings. Being detached from the Centre also provides scope for future multi-functional use with the possibility of it being used for training sessions, therapy or one-to-one support for families with particular needs.