One of the inevitable consequences of the economic dividend which the Borders Railway is set to deliver is a requirement for high-quality affordable childcare.
With trains facilitating easier commuting to and from the region, places like Stow, which has a station on the 30-mile link, are set to become ever more attractive to an increasingly mobile workforce.
That is certainly the view of two enterprising mums – Leanne Cheyne and Sammie Miller – who later this month will unveil the appropriately-named Little Tracks: a fully equipped nursery for 2-5 year-olds based in Stow Town Hall.
“Apart from inspiring our name, the coming of the railway was a key factor in bringing this to fruition,” explained Leanne. “I think everyone appreciates that childcare provision, particularly outwith the hours offered in our schools, is a major factor in the jobs people are able to do.”
Apart from their friendship and not inconsiderable joint investment in the venture, Leanne and Sammie have much in common professionally.
Leanne, from Lauder, is a fully-qualified senior early years practitioner, having worked in a local authority nursery for eight years and ran the after-school club in Oxton.
Sammie, who lives at Stagehall Farm, ran nurseries in her native Devon and in London before becoming an early years outreach worker with the charity Action for Children.
Last month, Little Tracks held a successful open day in the well-appointed and lavishly equipped groundfloor room which Leanne and Sammie have leased at the Town Hall.
From there, the nursery will operate from 7.30am till 6pm Monday to Friday, offering full or half-day sessions (7.30am till 12.30pm, 1pm till 6pm) and wrap-around care for youngsters attending the nursery at Stow Primary.
A maximum of 16 children can be accommodated during a session.
Little Tracks has also exclusive use of the garden at the rear of the building – a mini-adventure area with safe toys and natural wooden furniture supplied by Sammie’s husband Andy who runs Borders Firewood.
The nursery has linked up with the nearby Cloudhouse Café, which will provide breakfast, lunch and snacks for the children.
“In the nine months we have been planning Little Tracks, we’ve had tremendous support from the local community,” acknowledged Sammie.
“It has helped that people know we’re offering a balanced range of stimulating indoor and outdoor experiences in a safe caring environment and are fully committed to helping children achieve their full potential.”
A number of placements are still available at Little Tracks which opens on Monday, August 17.
For further information call 07470 480 994 or email firstname.lastname@example.org