A private nursery which only began last year has taken over a former church across the road from it’s base as it was struggling to meet demand.
In May 2016 husband and wife David and Mel Scrimgeour took on the renovated Newbyres Hall in Gorebridge and opened Newbyres Nursery, citing demand for such a venture in the ever-growing town.
Now just a year later the nursery has purchased Struthers Church (previously St Paul’s) across the road, with initial plans to open an after school club in the back hall in August and then move part of the nursery into the main building at the turn of the year following renovation work.
Newbyres Nursery manager/ owner Mel Scrimgeour said:“The church is absolutely huge, it’s massive, we could have probably an extra 150 children in there.
“We are going to put a planning application in for a mezzanine to have another floor, which will give us more space and provide better heat retention. A lot of churches have been revamped in that way.
“It’s so convenient being right across the road. We can offer so many more places and extend to include after school cover. Once we renovate the whole of our new building we will split it to over threes and under threes between the two buildings.”
The nursery currently looks after 146 children with 58 at any one time, and hopes to be able to accommodate up to another 100 at a time when renovation work is complete at their new building.
Mel added that the nursery is currently waiting to hear about funding grant applications for the renovation work which will allow more parents to use the facility. She added: “We are keeping our current hall, we are just absolutely full, with waiting lists increasing all the time. It’s been so limited in the area for ages, now more local people can go back to training, college or employment. We are excited to get started with our new project and would like to extend our thanks to the community who have shown us great support.”
Mel will soon extend the nursery’s project with Newbryres Care Home, featured recently in the Advertiser, which helps to bridge the generation gap by pairing up the youngest members of the community with the oldest. “It’s very exciting that we will be extending out inter generational project to include school age children.”
Built in 1886, the nursery’s new 3900 sq ft property features an extensive main hall on ground floor level, with mezzanine first floor as well as a secondary smaller hall to the rear of the premises.
Mel added that she hopes the nursery will benefit from planned road safety measures around Hunter Square, as part of a proposed Gorebridge Community Development Trust and Midlothian Council conservation scheme.