Dean Park Day Nursery, in association with Park School, has launched its new start-up venture Dean Park Training and unique meeting conference facilities, which look out over the spacious 6.5 acres of former Dorset and Hampshire cricket ground.

Steeped in history, the Gallery at Bournemouth’s Cooper Dean Pavilion once would have been used to watch over the cricket ground that has hosted players like WG Grace, Prince Ranjitsinhji and Prince Philip and now, following sensitive restoration, is open again for the first time in over two decades.

Alongside the Mayor of Bournemouth Councillor Susan Phillips and Councillor Sandra Moore, Portfolio Holder for Children and Families (BCP Council) who officially opened the new venue, businesses and local community groups from across Dorset were invited to an all exclusive event on Thursday evening to take a first look at the newly refurbished meeting and conference space, while raising a celebratory glass of fizz to mark this new stage in the building’s history.

Based in the centre of Bournemouth, the Gallery provides a conveniently located meeting room for hire to local businesses, featuring modern facilities while also capturing the heart of the building and history of Dean Park dating back to Victorian Times.  The ground was used for lawn tennis, croquet and athletics since 1869 with cricket being first played in 1871.  A small museum of photographs and media cuttings from years gone by to the present-day is displayed in the corridor leading to the Gallery for delegates to immerse themselves in before arriving in the bright, airy space to take up the best seats in the house!

Business Managers can discover opportunities to inspire and motivate their teams with a training away day, perhaps followed by a team-building game of cricket out on the field, and develop business strategy in an exclusive use environment supported by top quality catering and breakout rooms.

Early Years practitioners and educators from across the region were also invited along to learn about the training packages now available at the premises utilising the new facilities, as well as CPD series and one-off training sessions developed to inspire and support practice across all aspects of Early Years education and enhance learning for young children across Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch.

Speaking at the event, The Mayor of Bournemouth Cllr. Susan Phillips said: “I’m so pleased to be here with you all today to officially open The Dean Park Training Gallery’– an important part of Bournemouth’s history so well restored and preserved for use by local businesses, our schools, educators and children within the community. As a Bournemouth Borough Councillor I held the position of Vice Chairman on the Children’s Overview and Scrutiny Panel acting as a Corporate Parent to over 250 children and so I truly believe that children are our future and they are the future of Bournemouth, so please keep up the wonderful work that you are doing and offering here.”

Councillor Sandra Moore also commented on the restoration: “You couldn’t ask for anymore. What wonderful use of such a historical setting and really beautiful grounds. It’s lovely to see and hear that children are getting to be outside here daily as nowadays children don’t get so much opportunity for sport and outdoor play. Inside every bit of space, including The Gallery, which is now accessible to Early Years professionals for training programmes, is being used to educate young people from across the region. It’s fantastic!”

The training programme is to be led by Dean Park Day Nursery’s Nursery Manager, Kelly Yates who has over 20 years of experience teaching in the Early Years and Primary sectors. Kelly worked for six years with Children Centres around Bournemouth and Poole and, as a School Improvement specialist, became the Early Years Advisor for Bournemouth Council.  Kelly is also dedicated to providing development and support for Early Years settings and Foundation Stage units within schools.

Commenting on the new venture, Kelly said “We’re delighted with the turn-out to the official launch of the Dean Park Training Gallery. It was wonderful to celebrate with Bournemouth’s thriving business community and fellow Early Years professionals, after what has been many months of hard work and passion to restore and revive such an important piece of Bournemouth’s local history.

“Over the past three years, we have been pleased to see the Pavilion being once again filled with sport and daily usage by the children at Dean park Day Nursery, Park School and many other local schools, it’s been brought back to life for the next generation and now others have the opportunity to access the facilities too.

“Dean Park Training is a dedicated outfit committed to delivering exceptional training and inspiring local businesses and the Early Years workforce to continually develop high quality practice across the Early Years Foundation Stage. We are certain that Dean Park Training will develop into a local hub for the Early Years workforce and we are excited to be able to offer affordable professional development in a relaxing, inspiring environment. Our training ranges from one off workshops and full training days to short series of development opportunities. We also offer consultancy packages ranging from business and management support to school improvement with an Early Years focus.

“Our aim is to create a buzzing network of Early Years practitioners across the whole of the foundation stage, to explore ideas and innovations within the sector and ultimately enrich outcomes for children.”

Park School Headteacher, Melanie Dowler also commented: “The unique site and facilities at Dean Park offer Park School children and the children at surrounding schools the chance to train and compete in a wide range of sports in a safe and inspiring environment. Sports and team games are an important and integral element of children’s education.  At Dean Park we can actively encourage the children to participate in team and individual events to make the most of the opportunity that sport offers to develop skills, self-esteem, well-being and resilience.”

“We are very excited that Dean Park Training has been established to help support the Early Years workforce in the area.  The revitalisation of the Pavilion and the opening of the Gallery begins a new chapter in the history of the ground and offers so many opportunities for local businesses and educators to connect and benefit the future of local children.  The versatility and expertise that Kelly brings is a great asset to the company and we are looking forward to working alongside Dean Park Training and Dean Park Day Nursery in the future.”

The conference room is now available to hire. For bookings and more information visit or contact Kelly Yates on [email protected]

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