Sturgeon chooses Daddy Daycare for best practice plan

Alan Balfour, founder of Daddy Daycare. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Alan Balfour, founder of Daddy Daycare. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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HE may have spent the majority of his working years in the banking industry, but when Alan Balfour became a father, he discovered another natural calling.

The 37-year-old, who is one of the city’s few male childminders, transformed into the Capital’s own version of Eddie Murphy in 2013, when he opened up his Daddy Daycare Edinburgh.

After caring for his baby daughter, Alexandra, who is now five, Alan discovered his love for childminding. Nicola Sturgeon popped in for a visit to the facility yesterday, as she announced a new best practice standard for childminders as parents demanded answers about how the Scottish Government’s flagship pledge on childcare would be delivered.

The First Minister has promised an expansion in free childcare if the SNP are voted back into power next year, almost doubling the number of hours eligible youngsters receive to 1140 a year over the course of the next parliament.

Andy’s wife, Lindsay, came up with the idea of transforming part of their Randolph Lane home into a children’s day care centre.

After quitting his job with the bank, Alan agreed and has never looked back.

He said: “When I became a registered childminder at first, I was worried I wouldn’t get any business. We tried to come up with a name for the daycare centre that was catchy, and I thought ‘Daddy Daycare Edinburgh’ was great.”

He added: “I am a huge fan of the Hollywood film that features Eddie Murphy, he is a funny guy.

“But my centre is more like how Eddie runs his daycare centre smoothly, in the second part of the film, certainly not the first, when there is chaos.

“I try to get the kids out and about as much as I can, by taking them to the park etc.”

Shortly after Daddy Daycare Edinburgh was established, Alan’s worries about a lack of business faded as his colourful nursery became packed with fun and laughter.

Last year, he extended his business by creating an after-school club for children in the Stockbridge, Inverleith and Comely Bank communities.

Alan said: “There’s a huge shortage of after-school clubs in the city, so I decided to extend my business.

“At our after-school club on Inverleith Row, we can take around 50 children, and it’s a place they can come and play 
or do their homework if they wish.

“The feedback we’ve had from parents who use our service has been incredible.”

Alan said he and his wife are hoping to extend their business further by introducing more ­after-school clubs across the city.

Alan said: “Having the First Minister in our home was just surreal.

“She came in, and immediately went upstairs to the nursery room and started playing with the children – she was lovely.

A council spokesman said: “Early years investment is a priority, with £6.7m spent on provider nurseries.” Government coffers funds childcare for all three- and four-year-olds.

courtney.cameron@edinburghnews.com