ALL ABOARD for Deshar Nursery

Everyone will be aware that Boat of Garten has, over the last couple of years, received a welcome injection of young people, and now has 26 children under the age of 4yrs. However, this really good news will have an impact on those children wishing to attend Deshar School Nursery, and is a cause of great concern to their parents, and also the wider community. The nursery currently has a maximum capacity of 10 children.

Kim Dixon of Wee Bogies was approached by a number of parents, so she spoke to all parents in BOG about their intentions regarding the choice of school for nursery education. Analysis of this information indicated that the number of places available would have to double by August 2020 to accommodate all the children that wanted a place. Kim and Jo-Ann Clark discussed this with Rhona Bootle (Head of Deshar) who shared their concerns and supported their intention to take this issue forward to Highland Council. It became apparent that, despite the desire of HC officers to provide parents with a nursery school place of their choice, their ability to do this at Deshar is very likely be constrained by a lack of allocated capital expenditure resources.

Ann Napier, Iona Clark, Allan Richards, representing Showboaters, discussed the issue with Kim and Jo-Ann, and offered that Showboaters would support a 20 month fundraising project.

A Project Group – ALL ABOARD for Deshar Nursery – has been formed, with the following founding members: Ann Napier (Chair): Sharon Wilkinson (Treasurer): Kim Dixon: Jo-Ann Clark: Claire Clark: Allan Richards: Iona Clark. It has become a Boat of Garten Community Company Group.

Its aim is to:
• work with Showboaters and others in the community to co-ordinate, organise, and run fundraising activities, and to apply for Grant Funding;
• work with Highland Council to ensure the nursery will have sufficient places by August 2020 to allow all parents who wish it to obtain a place in the nursery for their children

The proposals for the project have being fully supported by our SMP Fergus Ewing, who has written to HC, and is in contact with us ready to give further help if necessary; by our Westminster MP Drew Hendry; and by our HC elected member Muriel Cockburn.
Ann, Kim and Jo-Ann met with Karen Ralston ( HC Manager and Commissioner of ELC Services) and others from HC on 22 May to discuss our proposals. What we wanted from this meeting was Karen’s support in principle for what we are about to do, and we have been pleased to receive this from her.
Until we received this we couldn’t let you all know what we are proposing – now we can and we’re ready to go!

The agreed target is a whopping…..wait for it……£100,000! So we all need to get cracking.
The fundraising project will be launched at a special Quiz Night in the Hall on Saturday 23 June and we hope you’ll all want to come along!
This is just the beginning of course. Showboaters will put on a number of performances over the next 2yrs, the proceeds of which will all go to the ALL ABOARD project, but we hope many others of you will wish to take part in different ways to raise money, and we will be approaching some of you in the
next few weeks – so watch out! If you have ideas of fundraising things you’d like to get involved with – big or small – do let us know and we’ll be delighted to discuss them with you.
The details of what form the expansion of places at the nursery school will take will be discussed in detail by the ALL ABOARD group with Senior Officers of HC, and we will report back to all of you as these progress – but fear not – we are determined that all our young children will be able to go together to nursery school in the Boat if that is what their parents want!

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