The nominees for the What’s On 4 2013 Junior Awards in association with Konfidence have just been announced – and Edinburgh’s Little Steps Under Fives is amongst them!

This awards programme, which is supported by ABC Magazine, is now in its 7th year and celebrates the best activities, classes, volunteers and venues from throughout the UK as nominated and voted for by the experts – parents and parents-to-be.

Little Steps Under Fives is a nominee in the following categories:- Most Outstanding Baby and Toddler Group, Best Local Under Fives Activity, and Best Local Under fives activity leader Louise Lawson, which means they have received at least 4 nominations and will now go through to the national voting stage!

This year, the awards are bigger than ever, covering 20 different categories ranging from Best Pre/Post Natal Activity to Best After School Club. A record 6,400 nominations have been received – 40% more than in 2012 and so this nomination is a great achievement.

Little Steps says they are changing the whole dynamic of toddler groups, with their fresh approach on tackling social isolation and improving early education in the under fives. Baby and Toddler groups can give children the very best start to their early education, and help parents build a support network of friends. Little Steps aim to set standards high for every toddler group in Edinburgh, and a new modern outlook has been adopted providing parents with what they really want.

Parents say they don’t want to attend groups that are unwelcoming to sit around drinking tea while their toddler runs around, but want groups that they can walk into straight away and feel welcomed. They want a group where they can interact with their children through play and group activities. They want to come together as a community, make friends and provide their children with the very best start to their early education.

Little Steps believe that they give parents what they need and that is why they are becoming one of the biggest under fives group in South West Edinburgh, with 400 parents using the sessions.  They also say that this number continues to soar week after week.

Little Steps claim to be passionate about parenting and getting it right for every child. The sessions run twice a week in Sighthill and Broomhall at the moment and on 3 April 2013 another session will be added. They have big plans to ‘take over Edinburgh’, including expansion into two new areas in Edinburgh, offering youth provision and the possibility of a playgroup. Little Steps is run by a dedicated team of volunteers who love what they do, and although it is very hard work the impact on the community makes it worth it.

Louise Lawson from Little Steps Under Fives said:- ”I see Little Steps as one big ever growing family”

Each and every children’s activity, party venue, entertainer and volunteer from throughout the UK had the opportunity to be nominated and the number of nominations this year reflects the support from the nations parents for these exciting awards and their eagerness to reward the very best!

From 18th March to 28th May 2013, parents can log onto any of the award winning on-line directories – http://www.whatson4littleones.co.uk, http://www.whatson4schoolkids.co.uk and http://www.whatson4kidsparties.co.uk to vote for their favourite from all of the nominees which have qualified.

The winners will be announced by TV celebrity host Lucy Piper at Brighton Racecourse on Sunday 30th June. During the champagne awards ceremony the winners of the community awards will also receive special prizes for their groups. Everyone who votes or nominates will also be in with a chance to win 2 VIP tickets to the awards ceremony, meet the finalists, sponsors and VIP guests.

What’s On 4 UK owners Marilyn Bradshaw & Bev O’Sullivan add: ”We’re so excited about our 2013 Awards especially as this year the UK awards are running alongside both the Australian AND Ireland What’s On 4 Junior Awards! Everyone through to this stage should be very proud that the nation’s parents are so keen to nominate and reward them. We can’t wait to see the results of the voting!”

Submitted by louise lawson