A Melrose nursery has created an outdoor learning area after successfully applying for a Scottish Borders Council grant.
Old Station Nursery, in the town’s Palma Place, received £4,000 from the Scottish Borders Business Fund to carry out the work, and owner Zara Hedley has also invested the same amount herself in the project.
The nursery, established by Zara in 2010, was praised by inspectors after their last visit for the continuous improvements made in the service.
“Having developed the nursery since 2010, I have been keen to try and improve the capacity of the nursery to support and improve learning for the children,” Zara said.
“I am really pleased that Scottish Borders Council has been able to support our grant application and that the improvements are happening so quickly after our recent successful Care Inspectorate inspection.”
The inspectors rated the nursery ‘Very Good’ in two areas and ‘Good’ in the other two aspects inspected in April.
Zara added: “We now have the new ‘learning garden’ available for the summer holidays, which is always a busy time!”
The ‘learning garden’ provides opportunities for children to have sustained periods of learning through outdoor play in a safe and stimulating environment.
The Scottish Borders Business Fund was established by the council in 2010 with an annual budget of £100,000, to provide grants up to a maximum of £4,000 to new business start-ups and to existing businesses employing fewer than 50 people.
This grant fund was developed at a time of economic uncertainty where businesses struggled to access financial assistance, and was established as a funder of last resort.
According to the latest council figures, this financial year the fund has received 11 enquiries and approved five grant applications valued at £11,938, supporting projects valued at £24,040.
These projects are forecast to create nine jobs and safeguard 24 jobs.