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Childcare charity takes over abandoned Dundee nursery

The former Fintry nursery.
The former Fintry nursery.

A dilapidated Dundee nursery is to be transformed following a £1 community asset transfer.

Fintry Nursery has been empty for more than a decade, since a new school was built in the area.

Flexible Childcare Services Scotland (FCSS) has taken over the building from Dundee City Council and the charity wants to provide wraparound education and childcare services at the building, as well as moving its headquarters there, bringing jobs to the city.

Susan McGhee, chief executive of FCSS, said the buildings and grounds will be “completely refurbished”.

She added: “The old nursery was a valuable asset for the local community and it has lain empty for far too long.

“We will ensure that the facilities are of the highest possible standard so that we can deliver the highest quality flexible childcare service for children and families in the area.

“Our flexible childcare model, and the transformational centre that we will be creating, will have a hugely positive, and lasting impact on the local community. To say that we are excited is an understatement.”

FCSS has been working on plans to take over the building since late last year, after a need was identified when families were unable to accept jobs due to a lack of accessible, flexible and affordable local childcare.

The council’s depute policy and resources convener Willie Sawers said: “This is tremendous news and will breathe new life into this empty building.

“It is fitting that it will be transformed into a modern childcare facility that is designed to meet the all-round needs of families in a joined-up way.

“This is a sensible decision to allow the transfer of the building so it can become a useful asset for the community.”

As normal council committee meetings have not yet resumed, the transfer was approved by the head of housing and communities in consultation with the convener of the policy and resources committee, the Lord Provost and members of each council group.

Childcare charity makes pandemic ‘booking system’ available to all

A flexible booking slot system used to help key workers access childcare during the peak of coronavirus has been made permanent.

Flexible Childcare Services Scotland (FCSS) offered the software to connect parents to childcare providers with capacity to match their own working routines.

More than 300 key workers used the Connext system during lockdown and this has since been offered to childcare providers across Scotland.

It also includes a staff function, matching childcare workers to providers who are short staffed. Around 120 workers from across Scotland have already registered.

Susan McGhee, chief executive at Flexible Childcare Services Scotland, said: “Covid-19 has brought massive disruption to the whole of society and consequently a huge change in new work regimes.

“Changing the way we work without looking at a change in how childcare is delivered puts lots of families at risk if working parents cannot find a suitably flexible service.  Our new Connect service matches parents with childcare providers and allows them to book time slots that match their own new work practices.

“Without change there is a real risk parents may not be able to return to work and for childcare providers there is a real opportunity to grow their own businesses by utilising their resources better.”

Connect, developed with grants from the Innovation Fund by the Scottish Government and Hunter Foundation, is free to use.

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