A PARENT and child group is celebrating after winning a national award.

Acorn Steiner Initiative (ASI), which has held weekly two-hour sessions on Abbey Street in Acc-rington for 14 years, was named the area’s most popular group of its kind in a competition run by the parenting website at NetMums.com Parents described the group, which is open to children aged from nine and a half months to four, as the ‘highlight of our week’.

Another voter praised the ‘caring staff, relaxed and friendly atmosphere and inspiring crafts and natural activities for the children’.

Leone Wilson has helped out at the group since her 14-year-old son Eliot was a toddler and said that it benefited them both.

She said: “There’s a structure to the sessions. We always have an activity so that when families arrive they will all sit around the table and do it.

“For example, we might make bread dough and then bake it for people to take home. The activities are seasonal.”

The groups also sing songs between activities and enjoy simple toys in a playroom which is kept the same to help youngsters to settle, Leone said.

She added: “We sing while we wash our hands before a snack and then sing to say thanks for the food.

“And we then sing while we are cleaning up. The children really enjoy it.

“The group is run with the support of parents so it’s very much a community thing.”

A winner’s certificate and badge will take pride of place at the base and the group will be given a ‘gold’ listing on the NetMums.com website.

The site founder Siobhan Freegard said: “We had thousands of mums voting in the area but ASI stood out. Parents love the homely atmosphere and look forward to going every week.

“It’s people like Leone Wilson that local communities are about.”

The group returns for the autumn term on Monday, September 2. For more information, contact Leone on 01200 427988 or visit the website which is www.acornsteiner.co.uk