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Grant boost for new building to fit with natural setting at Bower nursery


By Alan Hendry

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Senior early years practitioner Fiona Murray and some children playing in the woodland area. Picture: Sharon Dismore
Senior early years practitioner Fiona Murray and some children playing in the woodland area. Picture: Sharon Dismore

Ambitious plans are being made for a new building at a Caithness nursery which has gone from strength to strength after surviving a closure threat.

Eighteen months ago, Bower Busy Bees ELC (early learning and childcare) was in danger of shutting down. Enrolment numbers had dropped to just two children and Highland Council was considering withdrawing funds.

However, after what local mum Sharon Dismore called “a frantic few months”, the nursery was saved thanks to the efforts of the outgoing and incoming new committee and the local community.

“Bower Busy Bees was relaunched with a new vision – to create a unique setting in Caithness that provides young children with a natural and nurturing space where they can play and explore, grow and develop, and learn and flourish as individuals in an outdoor environment,” Sharon explained.

It is the emphasis on outdoor play that has made the nursery one of a kind in the county. It boasts a large recreational area with trees and an open glade, featuring a fun tumble trail, an adventure pirate ship, a sandpit and a messy mud kitchen, as well as access to a large play field and a paved courtyard area with facilities for pedal toys.

“With numbers rising to 15 children enrolled this year, it has been an exciting time for the staff and parent-led committee, even though it was forced to shut at times and adapt its operating in line with safety advice amid Covid concerns,” Sharon said.

“However, the community around the nursery is ambitious – and the latest project is to develop an outdoor building that fits in with the natural setting while providing some relief from the weather without having to withdraw into the main building.”

The nursery has received confirmation of a £5000 grant from Bad á Cheò Wind Farm Community Fund and plans to raise more to enable the project to come to fruition.

Youngsters playing in the sunshine on the pirate ship at Bower Busy Bees. Picture: Sharon Dismore
Youngsters playing in the sunshine on the pirate ship at Bower Busy Bees. Picture: Sharon Dismore

Enrolments are being taken for the August 2021 term and Bower Busy Bees will welcome two to five-year-olds as well as split-placement children.

Sharon added: “It’s a small nursery, with a maximum of 12 kids per session, which welcomes families to come and explore the setting and chat to the staff and committee if they would like to explore options for their families.”

Contact bowerbusybees_secretary@hotmail.com or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/bowerbusybees for more information.


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