Moray Council’s newest Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) setting has been officially handed over to the local authority by contractor, Morrison Construction.

The £2 million building signals a significant investment in the Forres area as part of the Scottish Government’s extension of funded ELC.

Although the requirement to provide 1,140 hours of funded ELC for all three and four year olds, and eligible twos, has been postponed due to the covid-19 crisis, the new Pilmuir Nursery allows for exactly that for its littlest learners.

Following the handover of the building, Senior Project Manager for the ELC Expansion at Moray Council, Robin Paterson, said: “It’s exciting for us to have the new nursery ready for the start of term in August. We’ll have a number of children re-joining us who have seen the construction progressing over the last two years as well as our new intake.

“We look forward to them exploring the light, airy and spacious building that has been fantastically designed for a modern ELC offering. Incorporating the outdoor learning space makes this an even more exciting learning environment and the staff team here will be ready with a warm welcome for the children to help them settle in to their new nursery.”

Site Manager, Ms Dawn Marshall, from contractors Morrison Construction, said: “Often our local authority projects are schools so it has been a very positive experience being involved in a new build for early years.”

Pilmuir Nursery Manager, Ms Bev Ashworth added: “Morrison Construction have been wonderful to work with and have helped us involve the children at each stage of the construction of the new nursery. After the covid-19 lockdown experience we’re very excited to be re-opening in August with a brand new nursery”.

The 1,1,40 hours of ELC equates to around 30 hours of funded ELC during term-time. However, the newest nursery building in Forres will operate year round, giving parents and carers more opportunities to work, train or study. The new building can accommodate up to 72 children and creatively utilises the outdoor space available.

The building is intended to be available for community use in evenings, however these plans have been put on hold until the covid-19 threat has passed.

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