GECCO is a registered charity. It was founded in 2017 with the aim of promoting and supporting sustainable behaviours and decision-making among children, their parents, their educators and carers.
Cheryl Hadland, founder of GECCO, is also Managing Director of Bournemouth-based Hadland Care Group – a family that consists of Tops Day Nurseries and Aspire Training Team – educating children from 3 months to 5 years, and those that work with them.
Cheryl believes that investing in the education of our children is the most effective way there is to provide a sustainable environment into the future; she has almost 30 years of experience in the day nursery field, and a passion to ensure we leave our environment fit for the next generation to enjoy a healthy life.
Through GECCO Cheryl and the team aim to continuously identify areas within a childcare setting where a sustainable mind-set can bring about improvements. And then share the knowledge and experiences gained with colleagues in the Early Years sector, whilst also lobbying politicians, talking to influencers and developing a network of like-minded people and professionals that can help take the sustainability agenda forward. No politics, no hidden agendas, no conflicts of interest.
Tops by example
Sustainable growth is a huge part of Tops Day Nurseries success. Cheryl is an outspoken advocate for environmentally sustainable business practice and education, making headlines around the world Christmas 2017 with her ban on plastic glitter in all her nurseries, and going on to scrap the use of commercial baby wipes (which contain non-biodegradable plastic) in favour of making their own, and investing in bamboo (rather than plastic) toothbrushes for the children to use.
The Tops group continues to embrace a whole raft of changes that make a real difference to their environmental impact; in 2018 the Tops Havant nursery was the first in the UK to gain ‘Plastic Free Schools’ accreditation. That same year Cheryl was named ‘Most Influential Person in Childcare’ by Nursery Management Today in the UK.
It matters to parents!
Talking about our efforts at reducing the single-use plastics, Tops Boscombe parent Katherine Wilcox had this to say:
“I’m so happy and proud that the nursery my daughter goes to has decided to take action on this very important and urgent matter. Tops have made themselves a role model that other nurseries and schools all over the world should follow.
“It’s about the future of this planet, hence the future of our children. It has become pretty evident that our plastic consumption is far beyond sustainable, and that something drastic needs to be done to change that. I am so glad that an institution like Tops Day Nurseries can be at the forefront, take responsibility and make this change. Someone has to start and I’m proud that it is my daughter’s nursery that took this stand, so the rest can follow.”
Katherine and her daughter attended our Tops Beach Clean, December 2017
“If everyone makes small changes to everyday life we can make a significant difference between us. Everything we buy, everything we do, should be influenced by how our decisions and activities will impact on our environment and on the future of the planet. This is a journey that we are all on, we are bound to make mistakes, make the wrong decisions, and to do things without thought, so this website and the GECCO Facebook page is for us all to share our learning and experiences and to make the world a better place.”
– Cheryl Hadland