Our Monkey Club Philosophy

Our aim at Our Monkey Club is to provide a stimulating, motivating, warm and supportive environment for the children in our care and pride ourselves in becoming a favourite place for the children.  The most important feedback we receive is the excitement the children express when coming to play.

To achieve this we have clear aims for ourselves.

  • To respect and support the children within our provision as unique individuals and to provide access to opportunities and experiences that will challenge, stimulate and motivate their personal development.
  • To continually evaluate and develop our standards and procedures to ensure we provide a safe and stimulating environment for all the children in the provision of the highest quality.
  • To recruit and develop a motivated staff team committed to high quality childcare with access to suitable training and experiences to develop their professional abilities.
  • To work in partnership with the school, parents and carers and other professional as an integral part of the child’s network of care.
  • To offer a flexible facility that can cater for many individual needs while providing a consistent, stable and warm environment for the child.
  • To make sure the children in our care feel cared for, respected and have fun! 


OMC's Journey to date...

Monkey Club started as a pack away setting offering a Play’n’Stay in Linton, Swadlincote in 2005 and developed through the work of Emma Major into a play group for local 2 and 3 year olds to compliment the local Pre-school provision.  After Diana Lawton joined the Community Voluntary Charity, Emma and Diana worked hard and trained to develop the provision further, increasing the sessions we offered and the quality of service we could provide.  Diana and Emma also worked as Childminders and took nationally recognised qualifications including the early years Diploma and the Early Years Professional Status (Diana).  We also supported the training of our staff and development of our policies, procedures and practice to ensure we could offer a service that could expand to meet the requirements of our children.  In 2010 we were finally ready to face Ofsted and become registered as a full time provision!

Emma left the Charity in 2009 due to unavoidable circumstances and we developed into a Social Enterprise in April 2010 with the new directors, Michelle Lawrence and Katy Robson and registered with Ofsted to open our first centre.  We chose to be a Community Interest Company which is a non-profit making company model that allows the provision to operate within the usual running conditions of a company, but with the guarantee that it cannot be used for personal gain. This was when we became Our Monkey Club C.I.C.  We advertised our service are we were ready to open with 27 children on roll on the 27th July 2010.

We aimed to open as a full day care centre at Linton Village Hall, Swadlincote but were asked to leave the Friday before we opened due to a demand for more rental income and committee issues.  We fortunately found welcoming arms that offered us a home (over a single weekend!) at Donisthorpe Woodlands Centre in July 2010 which offered us an independent space that we could further develop to reflect the needs of our children.  Our first full time day care centre opened!  We progressed from 27 children on roll to over 70 children on roll at any one time quickly and offered school transportation to three different schools.  We then worked with Derbyshire County Council to offer an out of school service from Coton-in-the-Elms Childrens Centre however the uptake was insufficient to maintain the service and we moved the service back to our Donisthorpe setting.

We stayed at the Woodlands Centre for 2 years until the Head teacher from Donisthorpe Primary School offered us the opportunity to move to the school grounds and we moved to our new self-contained home in September 2012.  We now had two large rooms, our own outdoor space and the use of the field and outdoor spaces that Donisthorpe Primary School offers.  We continued to progress and develop as a setting until we had over 150 children on roll offering a school transportation service to seven schools in the local area.  We had a practitioner team of 12 and many of our practitioners started their degrees with Pen Green Research Base and I started by Masters degree and we still had an every expanding waiting list.  We then had our first Outstanding Ofsted grading on May 2014 which celebrated our teaching as "excellent" and said that "the inspirational management team and dedicated practitioner are committed to providing high quality care and learning for children."  We were so excited to have our hard work and commitment validated by the Ofsted Inspector and she was lovely on the day.

We had decided that we either had to move to larger premises and leave behind our Donisthorpe roots or open a second centre.  We really didn't want to leave Donisthorpe and the children that attended our setting from the local area and so we had started to look for a second setting.  This proved difficult due to challenging planning regulations, finding suitable premises with great outdoor spaces and raising the funds for the often massive improvements required for any available premises.  We continued to experience a high demand for our service and found that parents repeatedly asked for us to open a second centre in Swadlincote.  We started looking for suitable premises and found our new home with the Victorian building that used to house the Church Gresley Infant School on York Road, Church Gresley.  This was a huge venture for us as it was a very large school and we got the keys on the 4th of July 2014 and opened to children on the 23rd July 2014!  We had to clear out, redecorate and redesign every room and recruit over 15 practitioners within a matter of weeks to open on schedule.  As a team we worked for 19 days straight from daybreak to way into the night but we did it and opened on the 23rd July 2014 with 4 rooms, the reception and the garden ready and continued to work through the rest of the centre.  By September the Library, Role Play room, Maths room, Art rooms and Hall were open and we had redecorated the cloakroom area to have most of the centre operational.  We were full by October and expanded our service to open the under Two's room in November which has been oversubscribed ever since.

We now operate from both sites providing placements for over 200 families, with a staff team of 30 and our company is going from strength to strength.  This year we are excited to work with Ben Kingston-Hughes to again deliver the Parent Partnership events, reintroduce our woodland experiences and open our sessions for families choosing to educate their children themselves.  I am so proud of everything we have achieved and Our Monkey Club has always been a collaborative venture - nothing we have ever managed has been the result of a single persons endeavour.  Our Monkey Club succeeds because of the passion, dedication and capabilities of all those who have made it what it is and I thank them all for making our dreams a reality for our children.  I have genuinely loved being part of every step we have taken.  I just can't wait to see what is next!

Diana Lawton (Managing Director)

Community Interest Company (CIC)

We became a Community Interest Company in April 2010 which is a non-profit making, regulated public limited company. 

A Community Interest Company (CIC) is a type of company, designed for social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good. CICs set up with some special features to ensure they are working for the benefit of the community.  A social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives who reinvest all excess funds for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to ensure profit for shareholders and owners.

Community interest companies (CICs) pursue social objectives, such as environmental improvement, community development and inclusion, fair trade, support services etc. Social enterprises play an increasing role in regenerating disadvantaged areas, empowering local communities and delivering new, innovative services at local level, and the growing range of CICs reflect this.

Two key elements separate a C.I.C. from a private business.  One is the asset lock which means that none of the directors own any element of the assets that belong to Our Monkey Club C.I.C. and if we decided to close the business, all residual assets are locked to another charitable cause and cannot benefit any individual.  Our Monkey Club C.I.C. also has strict regulations on profit and benefiting individuals financially above and beyond a salary drawn for a role with the daily running of the company and in-line with appropriate rates of pay.

OMC is set up as a C.I.C. so that we would always be a company focussed on the children and not the profit margin.  Whether OMC stays under its current directors or changes happen, no one can ever use OMC for profit.  It also helps a team to remember that we are all in this together for the child and not for ourselves from the directors to the new apprentices entering the sector for the first time.   OMC is a community for our children and families and we aim to never lose this as our primary focus.

To find our more about CIC's please click on the link below: