By Gillian McDade
A BALLYRONAN childminder has been selected as a finalist in this year’s Childminder of the Year Award.
Siobhan Rocks was chosen by baby nutrition experts, Cow and Gate, and the Northern Ireland Childminding Association (NICMA) is one of six competing to win the overall title at the Baby Grand in Belfast.
Siobhan told the MAIL she was delighted at having been whittled down to the final six, after being nominated by Roisin Ryan-Egan, a parent of Aimee who she looks after.
“I was shocked, but delighted,” she said. “I got a phone call from Cow and Gate and I was about to tell them they had the wrong number! I was pleased when I was told I was in the top six.”
Siobhan regularly looks after four children as well as her own two daughters Rachel and Aisling.
Prizes include a specially commissioned trophy and a cheque for £500.
Brian McComish of Cow and Gate, said the company is delighted to be working with NICMA on the Childminder of the Year Award again this year.
“NICMA registered professional childminders are a very important part of many households all across Northern Ireland and provide a service which is second to none,” he said.
“It is important to Cow and Gate to recognise the important work they do and through these awards we are able to reward the best of them.”
Bridget Nodder, Director of NICMA, said NICMA has been working with Cow and Gate for more than 16 years on the Childminder of the Year Awards - the Northern Ireland Oscars of childminding.
“I’d like to congratulate this year’s six finalists. They are a credit to the profession and although one will emerge as this year’s winner the real winners are the children in the care of these hard working men and women,” added Bridget.
Roisin Ryan-Egan, said she nominated Siobhan because she is ‘a very special lady’.
“To entrust the care of your child is a daunting task but from the day I met Siobhan I knew instantly my child would be loved in her wonderful setting. She cares, nurtures, develops and loves Aimee,” she added.
Last year’s winner of the Cow and Gate Childminder of the Year Award was Marie Bristow, a childminder from Strabane.