Doors open at first of East Renfrewshire’s new nursery facilities

The first nursery facility to be completed as part of East Renfrewshire Council’s ambitious expansion plan has opened.

Crookfur Family Centre has now welcomed its first children through the doors, despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is the first of six new nursery facilities, which are being created by the Council as part of a £28m investment to support increased free childcare for all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds, to be completed. This investment also includes some upgrades to existing nurseries and new sports pavilions included within two of the new buildings.

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The state-of-the-art Crookfur Family Centre, which will operate for 50 weeks of the year, provides large play rooms, a quieter rest zone area, a baking area for the children and children’s dining space. The fantastic facilities also allow children to take part in a range of outdoor activities, with a boot room, toilets accessible from the outside area and a covered outdoor learning den, as well as the wider opportunities provided by being located within the park.

Built on the site of the former Crookfur Pavilion, the facility will provide 120 places for local children and also has an area for use by the community and changing rooms for community sport.

Councillor Paul O’Kane, Convener for Education and Equalities, said: “I’m delighted to see the first of our six new nurseries now open to children and it won’t be long until the others are completed too. We have worked so hard to deliver these fantastic facilities, which will support our youngest learners at the start of their educational journey. We are committed to providing the very best learning environments for all the children and young people in East Renfrewshire and it is clear from the new Crookfur Family Centre that we have achieved just that.”

Crookfur Primary Head Teacher Sheen McGuigan, who will manage the new family centre, added: “Our children and their families can’t wait to get settled into this amazing new building. We are delighted to get the children in before Christmas to give them a chance to explore their new surroundings before the break. Everything about the new family centre is fantastic, especially the outdoor space which will allow all our children to expand their curiosity through play. The staff are just as excited as the children and we’re looking forward to working closely with families as part of this new adventure for Crookfur.”

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The six new nurseries being built by the Council are an integral part of the area’s commitment to expanding its early learning and childcare provision.

Local authorities currently provide 600 free hours a year and this is being increased to 1,140 by the Scottish Government, which is in effect a rise to 30 hours per week, matching the time children spend each week in primary school.

In addition to the Crookfur facility, the new nurseries are being built within Overlee Park which also includes a community sports facility, a replacement for Glenwood Family Centre on an adjacent site, two new centres within the grounds of Busby and Eaglesham primaries, and a new nursery class at Cross Arthurlie Primary. The new facilities will open in early 2021, with Overlee Family Centre to be available from later in the year.

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