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Moray nurseries given £160,000 for expansion of childcare services

By Jonathan Clark

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NURSERIES in Moray are preparing for the expansion of funded early learning and childcare services, having received £162,165 in grants over the last two years from the Scottish Government.

Noah's Ark garden room
Noah's Ark garden room

The early learning care expansion, which will be rolled out in August 2020, offers all three and four year olds, and some two year olds, up to 1140 hours of early learning and childcare per year. The scheme is predominantly funded by the Scottish Government.

Some early years settings are reorganising and upgrading due to the increase in hours, with grants being made available to allow all funded providers to meet new national standards. Torridon Education Group received over £26,000 across their four settings in Moray.

Torridon manager Lauren Hayward said: "We wouldn’t have been able to complete the work we needed to increase capacity and offer the full-time hours for children without this financial support from Moray Council and the Scottish Government.

"The funding has allowed us to improve our outdoor space, provide more training for staff and ensure the continuation of high standard of service that complies with changing legislation."

Noah’s Ark Developmental Playgroup were awarded nearly £22,000 to build an outdoor classroom, which Manager Angela Mackay says the children have named The Pea Pod.

She said: "We let the children and their families offer name suggestions for the space that offers a flexible learning environment, which we use as a quiet space for children to retreat to as well as dancing, yoga and drama. The children also really enjoy having lunch on the verandah and we’re able to increase our capacity thanks to this grant funding."

Outdoor nurseries are also supported with Earthtime for All receiving nearly £5,000 to install a new kitchen area as part of their expansion.

Education and Outreach Manager, Laura Russell, can see the expansion of hours benefiting a lot of parents. She added: "With our grant we’ve been able to install a kitchen at our base in the grounds of Duffus House in order to provide the funded meals children are also entitled to as part of the expansion.

"A number of parents have indicated how useful the extended hours will be, especially for working parents needing to build travel time in to their day – our new kitchen means we can offer everything children are entitled to during those longer days."

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