NDNA’s Chief Executive, Purnima Tanuku, is delighted to become an ambassador for Eureka! The National Children’s Museum

National Day Nurseries Association’s Chief Executive, Purnima Tanuku OBE, has joined star actors, athletes and scientists to become an ambassador for Eureka! 

The National Children’s Museum is celebrating its 25th anniversary and has brought together 25 well-known figures with personal connections or endorsements for the museum as part of the celebrations. 

The Ambassadors, called the #Eureka25, include Hollywood actors, gold medal-winning athletes and noted scientists as well as Purnima.

They have given their time free of charge to talk about their connection to Eureka! and celebrate how it has changed the landscape for museums and children in the UK.

Eureka! Chief Executive Leigh-Anne Stradeski said: “We’re delighted to have Purnima take on the role of ambassador in our celebratory year, and proud to work alongside such a dedicated professional whose commitment to play and learning is as strong as our own.”

Included on the roll of honour are actors Matthew Lewis and Sophie McShera, BAFTA winning writer and director Sally Wainwright, Olympic medal-winning triathletes Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, former England footballer James Milner, multi-gold medal winning Paralympic athlete Hannah Cockroft MBE, physicist, author and broadcaster Professor Jim Al-Khalili OBE and TV presenter Johnny Ball.

Purnima said: “It’s fantastic that our national children’s museum is right here in Halifax, West Yorkshire, near to National Day Nurseries Association in Huddersfield, and I am delighted to be an ambassador.

“Eureka! is such a bright and inviting space for children from far and wide to come to play and explore their interests and imaginations, often gaining their first real learning on huge subjects like science and geography, the human body and our society. 

“I used to take my children, who are now grown up, and they still remember and talk about their favourite elements including Archimedes and his bath and pretending to drive the various vehicles.”

Purnima continued:  “Young children learn about the world and develop their skills when they are allowed to pursue what catches their interest. In nurseries, skilled practitioners follow and support those interests, offering ideas and assistance to help children to carry on exploring and extend that learning.  

“Eureka features an amazing world of possibilities, inside and outside, all in a safe and enclosed environment, so children can and do wander at will, choosing what to investigate, with their accompanying adults following their lead, opening up conversation and spending real quality time together. This opportunity is really special.”

About Purnima

Purnima Tanuku OBE is the Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association, a charity and membership association for nurseries across the UK and the leading voice of the early years sector. 

Since Purnima joined NDNA it has seen massive growth, expanding its coverage into Wales and Scotland and doubling its membership.  Purnima was also instrumental in establishing the National Early Years Enterprise Centre in Huddersfield. 

Recognised as an authority on early years and childcare, Purnima works closely with ministers and senior civil servants, representing the sector and is a major contributor to the policy debate in all three nations. 

Her work for the sector championing the provision of quality childcare for children and working families was recognised in the 2011 New Year’s Honours list when Purnima was awarded the OBE for services to families.  

Purnima has also led the way for Asian women in business.  In 1999 she became the first Asian female managing director of an Environmental Regeneration Trust and through her career has travelled extensively in Eastern Europe and further afield, presenting at a variety of national and international conferences. 

The holder of a prestigious Institute of Directors Voluntary and Charitable Sector Award for Yorkshire and Humber region 2009, Purnima was also Highly Commended at the Institute’s first ever UK Director of the Year Awards in 2010. She collected two awards for organisational excellence at the Northwest Excellence Awards in Manchester, one for inspirational leadership, the only one of its kind in the Northwest.  

During her career she has worked with local authorities, business links and chambers of commerce.  She has also served as non-executive director on a number of public and private sector organisations. 

Her depth of experience working across the business, public and voluntary sectors along with her passionate belief in its contribution to so many parents and families makes Purnima a true champion for the nursery sector.  

Trained as a dancer since the age of five, Purnima is a keen supporter of creative and performance arts.