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BLOG: Introducing your new PACEY Advisors


Are you facing a challenge and need a friendly listening ear? Do you have an idea you want to talk through with an early years expert? PACEY members now have exclusive access to our new PACEY Advisors, Lucy, Anne and Pat, who are here to help. They can offer you personalised, one-to-one support to help you with any query you have. The PACEY Advisors are only a call away if you need a new perspective, reassurance in advance of an inspection or just want to talk things through.

Our PACEY Advisors bring a wealth of expertise as early years practitioners and business owners. They are at the end of the phone or online to chat through your practice issues, regulation worries or just to reassure you that you’ve got it covered!

This is a member-exclusive benefit. Not a PACEY member? Find out more about our membership packages.

Call the PACEY Practice Advice Line

Currently available Monday to Friday, 6pm-9pm. Find out how to contact our Advisors in MyPACEY

Childcare can be a lonely job, so think of Lucy, Anne or Pat as part of your team!

Lucy Lewin, PACEY Advisor

With extensive experience in the early years and childcare sector, Lucy began her journey as a childminder. For more than ten years she has run an 85-place day nursery and is also a trainer and consultant supporting the early years sector. She has a first-class honours degree in Education Studies with Early Years, writing her dissertation on Professional love and the emotional impact on practitioners. Lucy takes part in the All-Party Parliamentary Groups for Childcare as well as her local authority’s Children’s Partnership Board and Education & Schools Board.

Lucy diversified her setting during the pandemic to make an exciting new community space that opened in April 2021. The community hub offers health, wellbeing and fitness support to families. 

Passionate about all things early years Lucy loves to coach, support and advise on every aspect of early childhood development and early years with a special focus on the ‘business of business’ and how to run an effective and efficient childcare setting.  

What have you enjoyed most about your childcare career so far?

I have enjoyed every single moment! The journey has been one of the toughest of my life – the roller coaster that is a childcare business is not for the faint hearted. But there is not one thing I would have done differently as out of each thing I failed at, I learned more than I would have ever done at college, in a classroom or from books.

I think every early years practitioner could write a book on the funny things children say to you, they really are the reason I love what I do!

How do you think you will be of most help to PACEY members?

I can bring a wealth of experience gained from the very practical, challenging and often bumpy road of childcare. I have failed a lot along the way, yet at each point I reflected and learned what I needed. There are so many hats you have to wear when you run a business. I bring expertise in team building, business, coaching, mentoring, regulation and pedagogy. I can also bring a positive outlook and I am looking forward to being a friendly listening ear to help PACEY members through whatever they are facing.

What or who inspires you in your work?

The children I care for inspire me to better my knowledge and professional development: they are such curious learners it keeps ignited my passion to learn. My own children too are an inspiration as I watch how they are incredibly resilient and amazing humans. Much of my inspiration comes from my late mother. Sadly she passed away in 2007, before I fully understood child development. If only she had known how awesome she was at being an advocate for children, being excited in their journey and giving them time to explore their own thinking.


Anne Gallagher, PACEY Advisor

With over 20 years’ experience in childcare and early education, Anne gained a first class honours degree in child development and social policy in 2012. A registered childminder, Anne has been an OFSTED ‘outstanding provider’ for her past three inspections. For many years, she supported childminders across Lancashire through her involvement in her local childminding network and for more than five years she organised local training and peer to peer support sessions as a PACEY volunteer.

How do you think you will be of most help to PACEY members?

I have always been drawn to helping others and supporting them with any challenges they have faced as childcare and early years practitioners. My child development knowledge, thanks to my degree, means I have a firm understanding of the theory that underpins children’s learning and development.

I have always enjoyed supporting new as well as established childminders, especially supporting individuals to rise to the challenge of the frequent changes our sector goes through.

I know the new Early Years Foundation Stage is causing concern for some so I want to help calm worries and reassure. I am also looking forward to being able to listen with a friendly ear to any issues that members may have and drawing on my practical experience to help them through.

What have you enjoyed most about your childcare career so far?

As a childminder, you are learning every day and that has been really gratifying throughout my career. I’ve always loved being outdoors – I am fortunate to have access to beaches and woods nearby and these have provided fantastic learning opportunities for the children. We enjoy being outdoors whatever the weather and it’s been wonderful to explore the local wildlife and areas of natural beauty together. 

I also really enjoy supporting other early years practitioners to grow in confidence and develop their practice. Especially for childminders and nannies who work alone - it just shows what we can achieve when we work together.

What or who inspires you in your work?

I have been inspired by Anna Ephgrave and the idea of ‘in the moment planning’ - picking up on children’s current interests or something they have just come across and using this to develop a learning curriculum.

The work of Reggio Emilia has also been a source of inspiration – his concept of ‘busy adult, busy child’ is really important and I’ve seen how getting immersed in an activity alongside the children can really help them extend their understanding and develop their ideas.

Can you recall a personal challenge you have faced and how talking it through with a colleague helped?

I have always worked on my own as a childminder, so the support that I have gained from other childminders through the networks and groups that I have been part of has been so important.

It has been fantastic to see how much the community of early years practitioners has grown over the past few years. We can learn so much from each other, so it’s great to have access to ideas and inspiration from others through PACEY’s social media channels. As a PACEY Advisor I am looking forward to sharing ideas, talking through concerns and providing reassurance to members, many of whom, like me, work alone.


Pat Tomlinson, PACEY Advisor

Pat brings a wealth of experience in the early years and childcare sector. She first registered as a childminder in 1989 and also spent seven years as a foster carer. She has been a childminding development worker, helped set up a local childminding group and has run an under 5’s group for more than twelve years.

Qualifying as a trainer in 2000, Pat has delivered training for her local college in Sheffield as well as running training programmes across the country and online for PACEY. Pat qualified as an assessor in 2012 and since then has worked freelance and also as a PACEY associate.

How do you think you will be of most help to PACEY members?

Offering support and advice to both new and established childminders has always been part of my work. As a trainer and an assessor, I have supported new practitioners through their pre-registration courses as well as helped existing childminders, nannies and nursery staff to develop their practice.

I bring a wealth of experience gained from offering advice and guidance to hundreds of childcare and early years practitioners as well as an ability to listen and identify practical solutions that can be of direct benefit.

What have you enjoyed most about your childcare career so far?

Working as a childminder, no one day is ever the same. I’ve really enjoyed the variety of being a childminder and seeing how the children in my care have grown and developed. I am still in touch with many of the children who I looked after and who are now grown up with children of their own. It’s great to have that connection and see the impact of your work.

I also enjoy supporting childminders and others in early years to be the best practitioners they can be. We can all learn so much from each other and that makes it a really rewarding career.

What or who inspires you in your work?

I was fortunate to work alongside Elizabeth Jarman and her work on an enquiry-based learning approach has always been a great inspiration to me. Key for me is the importance of being in the moment and following a child’s interest – it’s amazing where it can take you! I still use the principles of her practice in my setting now – the importance of providing calm environments conducive to learning and making spaces, for example reading corners, has stayed with me through my career.

Can you recall a personal challenge you have faced and how talking it through with a colleague helped?

As childcare practitioners we all face challenges every day, and it can sometimes feel like you are struggling on your own, particularly if you are a childminder or nanny. I remember taking on one boy who had been asked to leave other settings because of his challenging behavior. Talking through how I could best support him with a colleague was incredibly helpful – it was probably the toughest challenge I faced in my career but having a trusted ear to talk to really helped. I am still in touch with him to this day, and he even took me up in a two- seater plane to help me conquer my fear of flying! That’s evidence of the strong attachments you can form as a childcare practitioner!

This is a member-exclusive benefit. Not a PACEY member? Find out more about our membership packages.

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