Update 13th April 2018
Yesterday Laura, Dot and Moray met with the consultants from Community Enterprise who have been working on the business plan for our proposed childcare facility. We have been working hard to calculate the number of children our nursery will have capacity for, how many staff we require and how much space we need for them - all very important for making sure the nursery will be financially viable.
We have invited a range of architects from across Scotland to tender for providing sketches designs for the nursery, which we look forward to sharing with the community when they are ready around May. Keep an eye out for consultation events being held in the next couple of months, it's a really important part of the process of purchasing the land that we can demonstrate lots of community support for the project, so please attend if you can!
Finally, from Monday 23rd April Dot Stewart will be taking the lead on the childcare project as Laura Percy is going on maternity leave. Dot works for the Trust part time and can be contacted by email - firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01680 812910.
Update 14th March 2018
We are now coming to the end of our childcare facility site appraisal, having received reports back from the topographical survey and flood risk assessment. Next week we hope to have the site survey back as well as our final business plan from the consultants. Collectively, the results from the surveys will inform our decision whether to proceed with the Forestry site at Glen Aros or look at another option, we look forward to sharing the results with you soon and keeping the community informed about our plans. Here's a photo of a digger on site this week digging trial pits to assess the ground, it was a really beautiful sunny day!
Update 22nd November 2017
On Wednesday 13th December we are holding our first public community consultation events. There is an afternoon session at Salen Church Hall and an evening session at An Tobar which we would love for you to come along to - both are drop in sessions so come along when you can.
If you can't make it to sessions but would still like to give us your feedback, please follow this link for our survey - https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MICT_Childcare_Survey ***now closed***
Laura Percy and Caroline Wood with Gilly Macwrither and Douglas Westwater from Community Enterprise at the Glen Aros site.
Update 25th October 2017
We have some exciting news about the childcare project! We recently applied to stage 1 of the Scottish Land Fund for a grant that would allow us to technically assess the suitability of Forestry Commission Scotland land at Glen Aros near Salen to build a nursery. We are delighted to report that we have been successful! Over the next 6 months, contractors will assess the suitability of the plot for us and we will consult with the local community to help bring our vision for an island nursery one step closer! We hope to then apply to the Forestry Commission Scotland Community Asset Transfer Scheme for approval to go ahead and then Scottish Land Fund stage 2 to make the purchase. We hope to own the land by the end of 2018.
Update 16th August 2017
We have been exploring the possibility of building and running a purpose built nursery on the island for a couple of years now due to the growing need for flexible wrap around childcare on Mull. Childcare was identified as a challenge and priority during the North and Central Mull Community Development Plan consultations. By 2020, the Scottish Government are planning to expand the number of free Early Learning and childcare hours to 1140 from 600. This increase will put a strain on the provision currently offered by the Argyll and Bute Council and creates a demand for a new facility on the island.
We have identified the Salen area as an ideal location for a nursery on Mull because of its central location and good transport links. We are pleased to have identified a provisional site on Forestry Commission Scotland land at Glen Aros, not far from the Forestry Offices, and are in early stage discussions about a Community Asset Transfer to develop the site. We are also planning to apply to the Scottish Land Fund for additional support in developing the project. We would like to build an indoor/outdoor nursery, that is a nursery with a solid structure and infrastructure but with an outdoor/forest school ethos, where children spend a large amount of time outdoors exploring the neighbouring woodlands. If you are interested in being involved in this project from the very beginning and helping to inform the design of the nursery, please get in touch with Laura Percy by emailing email@example.com or calling 01680 812907.
Increased Childcare from 2020 - useful information
The Scottish Government recognise that flexible and high quality Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) is essential in ensuring children have the best possible start to life. They have committed to delivering an increased entitlement of 1,140 hours of funded childcare per year per child. This policy has huge potential to transform the lives of children and families whilst improving Scotland's economic prospects.
What do this mean for you?
By August 2020, eligible 2 year old and 3-4 year old children will have their funded childcare entitlement raised from 600 hours to 1,140 hours. This works out to around 30 hours per week per child, this is not means tested and is available for everybody. You can find out more information about what 'eligible' 2 year olds means here - https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/funded-early-learning-and-childcare-2-year-olds
As a parent, you will be able to flexibly use these 1,140 hours between Local Authority pre 5 units, private and third sector partner provider nurseries and registered childminders.
What does this mean for our nursery?
Delivery of Early Learning and Childcare on the Isle of Mull is already very nearly at capacity. By 2020, the Local Authority pre 5 units will not have the capacity to deliver the 1,140 hours of funded childcare entitlement due to building size and staffing ratios.
This is where Mull and Iona Community Trust come in. Our nursery will help to deliver the 1140 hours of funded entitlement as well as extra, paid for wrap-around care in the school holidays etc. Our nursery will be available for all 2 year olds (i.e. not just eligible 2's), 3-4 year olds and after school/holiday clubs for primary school age children.