Flexible Childcare Services Scotland (FCSS) has announced that it has been granted a new licence to renovate the old Fintry nursery, which has been derelict for almost 10 years.
Looking ahead, the charity plans to refurbish and transform the nursery to become a fully functioning childcare facility for 70 children as well as a community services hub within the grounds.
Councillor Anne Rendall, Convener of Dundee City Council’s Neighbourhood Services said: ‘It’s great to see the handover of the building to FCSS as a result of the council’s Community Asset Transfer scheme.
‘FCSS’ plans for the building and the multiple services based from the facility will undoubtedly benefit the local community. I wish them every success for the future.’
Councillor Mark Flynn, Convener of Dundee City Council’s City Development said: ‘The development plans for the building are very impressive. FCSS will look to effectively modernise the old nursery site and make the most of the available space.
‘It’s great to see FCSS’ plans for the building and for a community-based cause.’
FCSS, a national charity who already manage settings across Aberdeenshire, the Highlands and Islands and in Dundee, was created after it was found that parents were unable to accept offers of employment due to a lack of high quality, flexible, and accessible childcare services.
The redevelopment of the old nursery will provide affordable and accessible childcare for families at a crucial time. The pandemic has highlighted large cracks in the system which has directly impacted a family’s ability to access childcare. Furthermore, it will also provide a unique space for the community with initiatives that include a food bank, a repair-reuse-recycle scheme and use of the extensive outdoor space.
Susan McGhee, chief executive at Flexible Childcare Services said: ‘We are delighted to receive the licence from Dundee City Council, it means that we are one step closer to creating our first centre of excellence; a community hub with childcare at the core with a range of family and community services led by local people. This inclusive and collaborative, model, based on the values of the Place Principle, will demonstrate how accessible childcare with wraparound family and community support services can deliver improved outcomes for everyone.’
FCSS has also been awarded Access to Childcare Funding to create a new out of school childcare facility for 24 children in the nursery’s grounds.
The Access to Childcare Fund, funded by the Scottish Government and managed by Children in Scotland, will provide a means for FCSS to deliver accessible and affordable school age childcare for low-income families in the area. This will allow parents to reduce childcare costs, work more flexibly and increase their incomes.
Children in Scotland chief executive Jackie Brock said: ‘We’re very pleased that Flexible Childcare Services Scotland (FCSS) will be able to use this funding to support out of school care for families.
‘FCSS’s offering typifies the childcare provision that is being backed by the Access to Childcare Fund across Scotland.
‘All the funded providers have a strong focus on supporting families who are often the most excluded from the benefits of high quality out of school and holiday services.
‘That experience of exclusion needs to end, and we want the learning from the Fund to contribute to every child benefitting from such services.’
Lesley Tait, Flexible Childcare Scotland’s Dundee Manager said: ‘This is a unique space with an extensive out door area in a built-up community. The funding will allow us to create a modular satellite building in the garden for out of school care. Children are becoming more disconnected with the natural world, and this funding will support us to create an environment for the them to delve unhindered into nature.
‘This space would contribute to the children’s risk taking and would encourage health and wellbeing. We will resource and introduce tools for imaginative play; loose parts, cooking outside, fire pits, and den making. This is an experience that many of the children will not have had access to previously. A full outdoor out of school care that engages all children, including those with Additional Support Needs, and caters for their needs and development within a specialised area.’
While the building renovations take place out of school care will primarily be delivered outdoors, providing children with a unique learning experience before and after school and throughout the school holidays.
The children are also very excited with the new plans, according to Daisy (aged 7): ‘I’m excited for the new garden because there will be more space for me to run.’
‘At the after-school club I love baking and eating all the food. In the new building it would be good if we can bake outside, toast marshmallows and cook BBQs with sausages!’ Jasmine (Aged 9 years).
‘I like playing with Lego, drawing and painting! I have made so many new friends at the after-school club.’- Ellie (Aged 9 years).