Families in Dundee have something to celebrate today (Thursday 26th May) as a brand new childcare centre opens to support children from 0-16 years old.
Following an asset transfer from Dundee City Council, and thanks to funding from the Social Innovation Partnership, Access to Childcare Fund and other grant funders, Flexible Childcare Services Scotland (FCSS) has renovated a former, 10-year derelict, nursery into a new state of the art Childcare & Community Hub.
The new centre, Fintry Mains, Community & Childcare Hub, was officially opened today by Clare Haughey, Minister of Children & Young People.
The new, multi-functional space will offer day care and school age childcare for 68 children with further places opening soon. Further developments to the space, which have been made possible thanks to funding from the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, will also provide the local community with a shared garden, a workshop and it will offer a range of community services which will enhance the skills, experiences and wellbeing of the individuals and groups who use it.
Children’s Minister Clare Haughey said:
“It is encouraging to see how FCSS has worked with the community to ensure this building has been transformed to deliver flexible childcare services for children and families.
“The Scottish Government’s expanded early learning and childcare offer means all three and four-year-olds and two-year-olds who need it most can access 1,140 hours of high quality, funded ELC a year. Hubs like this mean parents and carers can access childcare flexibly, supporting sustainable employment and bringing benefits for all the family.”
Flexible Childcare Services Scotland, is a national charity which 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 charity offers a flexible childcare model meaning that parents can book by the hour, change their bookings each week and only pay for the childcare they actually use. This is in contrast to the standard model of booking childcare in set blocks of time, which can create an affordability barrier and doesn’t always meet the needs of all families.
Susan McGhee, chief executive at FCSS, said:
“We currently have 22 registered services around Scotland with more opening in the coming months. We find and fill gaps in provision, and offer flexible, book-by-the-hour childcare, removing barriers of affordability and accessibility and empowering parents to return to employment, education, or training. Increasing a parent’s earning power by ensuring they have the support they need to allow them to work, earn and learn is one of the simplest ways of reducing child poverty.”
The Scottish Government’s ‘Funding Follows the Child’ model allows the charity to work in partnership with the local authority which means families can use their funded hours flexibly further enhancing the benefit of the 1140 hours.
However, FCSS’s plans go far beyond a traditional nursery setting. The charity is already in the process of developing a number of initiatives including an accessible garden, a community larder, a repair-reuse-recycle scheme and a number of other community focused services which were identified through stakeholder feedback, local partnerships, and FCSS’s involvement with the Social Innovation Partnership. These groups identified a lack of green space and community activities for families and older people which will be addressed through the new Hub.
Flexible Childcare Services Scotland believe this is the first of many flexible childcare and community hubs that will help unite families and communities across Scotland.