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New council nursery opens in Midlothian FC main stand

A new state-of-the-art nursery has been officially opened in the main stand of Heart of Midlothian FC following a unique partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council.

Pupils from the nursery helped the football club’s Chief Executive, Ann Budge, and Education, Children and Families Vice Convener, Cllr Alison Dickie, cut the ribbon at a special event on Wednesday.

The original nursery on McLeod Street was built in 1929 and was due for replacement. So, when the football club drew up plans for a new stand both partners worked together to create a building that would benefit both football fans and families in the area.

The nursery is part of the Council’s vision for transforming the landscape of early years learning and childcare by using sector-leading research to support the children’s learning and development.

Outdoor play is an important part of this strategy and is integral in the history of the old nursery school. The new building now has a fantastic new outdoor play area reflected in the original name of the nursery – Tynecastle Garden.

In addition to the outdoor area, flexible learning spaces, play zones, and natural light some of the wooden furniture and materials has been created from much-loved trees in the previous garden thanks to the Grassmarket Project.

Along with other Scottish local authorities the Council has committed to doubling early years provision to 1140 hours a year for all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds by 2020.

Cllr Alison Dickie, Vice Convener, said: “Investing in early years and delivering quality, affordable childcare is a priority for the Council. We are committed to providing the best start in life for every child and ensuring they are ready to succeed as they grow up.

“The new Tynecastle Nursery is the latest fantastic building we’ve opened in recent years as we transform the early years learning path for our youngest children.

“The light, open design of our nurseries gives them the opportunity to express themselves and can only help stimulate them in such a fantastic learning environment. All these amazing design elements will help children on their journey to becoming successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.

“This new building is part of our ambitious plans to deliver the increased hours for young children and we now have 49 local authority and 11 partner provider settings across the city delivering the additional hours for over 2,000 two and four-year-olds.

“This a major achievement and with Scottish Government funding of over £87.5m over the next four years this will help with building the new early years facilities that are required.”

Ann Budge, Chief Executive of Heart of Midlothian FC, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to officially open the Tynecastle Nursery at their new home is in our fantastic main stand.

“Tynecastle nursery has been based in McLeod Street since 1929 and has played a big part in the local community. The creation of the new nursery is a great example of what can be achieved by taking a genuine partnership approach.

“The Council has a brand-new nursery which has been described as ‘the best nursery in Edinburgh’. In return, we were able to integrate the old nursery site into the development plans for our new stand. This has been a real ‘win-win’ project that has greatly benefited the local area.”

Tynecastle Nursery Head Teacher Stella Brown said: “We now have a learning environment for the future and one that will serve the communities of Gorgie and Dalry for generations to come.

“We’ve been neighbours of Hearts for nearly 90 years and to be fully integrated into their building is testament to the close partnership between the football club and the Council and the strength of the local community.

“It feels as if we are home and growing roots again.”