Rainbow Community Nursery was founded in 1973 by the Afro-Caribbean Mothers Group to meet the childcare needs of black parents living in the Stoke Newington area of the London Borough of Hackney. Nursery provision for under-fives was particularly poor at that time and many black working mothers faced particular difficulties in securing adequate care for their young children while they were out during the day. Others, faced with the same problem, simply had to sacrifice work altogether. The Group decided to act and opened the first community nursery in London.
The nursery was supported in it's early years by PBHA who provided our first premises, two floors at 39 Clissold Road, and by Christian Aid and the Community Relations Commission who provided our first grants. This money provided one year's salary for the nursery's first Matron (Head of Staff), and also helped towards the cost of renovating the premises. In May 1973, the ‘Save the Children Fund’ agreed to sponsor the project for a two year period and Hackney Council stepped in with a grant of £2,174, half of the total Nursery budget at that time. Other supporters of the project volunteered both moral and practical support, primarily in keeping the nursery clean. In September 1973, Rainbow Nursery opened its door to a multi-racial cohort of fifteen local children.
The official opening of the nursery took place the following May, conducted by Mrs. Wint, the wife of the Jamaican High Commissioner with the GLC Chairman Lord Pitt and other dignitaries in attendance. In the autumn of 1980 Rainbow’s future was in jeopardy as notice was served to vacate its original premises in Clissold Road due in part to outstanding repairs to the building that had been deemed impractical and in part to the potential to sell the site for redevelopment. After a concerted campaign of letter-writing and searching for possible new sites, the nursery was successful in securing Partnership Funding for a new site.
Hackney Council, in conjunction with the then Greater London Council (GLC) offered us our present site on the Yorkshire Grove Estate and arrangements were made to purchase our current Portakabin. Rainbow Nursery moved to its new home on 17th January, 1983. In June 2008 the nursery received funding to build a new purpose built nursery. This was opened on 27 April 2010. Rainbow parents today are working or studying, but remain committed, still finding time for regular management meetings and after hours work-shops.