Local News

£1.5million for Orkney’s New Nursery

by Mike Robertson

Islands Secretary in the Scottish Government, Mairi Gougeon was in Orkney on Thursday (1st Sep 22) to announce that Orkney was to receive the biggest share (£1.5m out of a total of £4.45m) of this year’s funding from the 2022/23 Islands Programme.

The newly built nursery facility will be located next to Orkney College campus.  It replaces an existing building earmarked for demolition and which is the only current nursery facility in Orkney.  The project has strong links to population retention, addressing child poverty and meeting net zero ambitions.  Being located next to Orkney College leads to opportunities to support Childhood Practice Students as they develop their skills, therefore supporting a key sector which has had recruitment challenges. The new-build facility will save approx. 20 tonnes of CO2 in moving the nursery service from the old building to the new highly insulated building.

Mairi Gougeon said:

“I am happy to be here in Orkney, to announce the allocation of £1.5 million to the Orkney Islands Council for a brand new nursery facility. The new nursery will support families from both mainland Orkney and the outer isles, as well as providing opportunities for Childhood Practice Students from Orkney College.”

Councillor Gwenda Shearer Chair of Orkney Islands Council’s Education, Leisure and Housing Committee said:

“The funding allocation for the new nursery facility is fantastic news. The stated purpose of the fund is to improve quality of life in our island areas – and improved access to child care facilities for our local families really does tick that box. 

“The new facility will make an enormous difference locally and we are looking forward to progressing the project.”

While she was here Mairi also took the opportunity to launch the Young Islanders Network and to invite them to be part of the National Islands Plan delivery group.

Mairi said:

“We want young people to stay, to live and to work in the islands so it’s really important that they have a voice in policy making.”

You can watch an interview with Mairi Gougeon here where she speaks about the challenges facing islands and the Young Islanders Network:

You can find out more about the National Plan for Scotland’s Islands here, https://www.gov.scot/publications/national-plan-scotlands-islands/

More information about the Young Islanders Network can be found here, https://www.youthscotland.org.uk/programmes/young-islanders-network/

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