Scottish family gives £500k for outdoor nurseries in poor communities

A Scottish family has made an anonymous £500,000 donation to help set up outdoor nurseries in some of the country’s most deprived communities.

Sunday, 2nd June 2019, 2:39 pm
Research is said to show that learning and playing outdoors benefits children's health and wellbeing

The money was given to anti-poverty charity Inspiring Scotland which will set up a new social investment fund to help create new social enterprises who will run the nurseries.There are currently only 18 fully outdoor nurseries in Scotland.Inspiring Scotland says the new fund will support up to 3000 children over a five-year period to access outdoor play and learning, concentrating on disadvantaged areas where there is limited or no outdoor nursery provision.The charity says research from around the world demonstrates enormous benefits to children’s health, wellbeing and development from getting outside to play and learn.Celia Tennant, Inspiring Scotland’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted by the generosity of this donation to support the health, wellbeing and development of Scotland’s children.“We believe that playing and learning outdoors, being active and having fun is a crucial part of a child’s development, and we want all children in Scotland to be able to do that.“This funding will allow us to create daily life-enhancing outdoor experiences for children from some of Scotland’s most deprived neighbourhoods.“This new private funding is testament to a growing movement in Scotland to embrace outdoor learning and of a deepening understanding of the huge physical, mental, social and emotional benefits of playing outside from an early age.”Initially, the fund will select and invest in five organisations to set up as social enterprises to run outdoor nurseries in different deprived communities around the country.Inspiring Scotland will support the organisations to develop and grow so they can support more children in more areas.Under Scottish Government plans, the amount of free childcare available will increase from 600 hours to 1140 hours by August 2020 to help raise attainment and support parents to return to work.Inspiring Scotland, established in 2008 to tackle entrenched social problems faced by poorer communities, has worked with more than 300 charities since that date, managing more than £150 million in funding, and claims to have transformed the lives of more than 200,000 people.The new fund opens for applications today, offering financial and development support to eligible Scottish charities to establish new, fully outdoors early learning and childcare settings.The fund will target areas of high deprivation where there is a clear need for provision. Funding will be available for 12 to 18 months.Applications close at midnight on Friday July 12.Inspiring Scotland points out the right to play is enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and says the new fund’s social enterprise model is designed to have a major impact on the life chances of some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged children.

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