Portree Nursery to hold EGM amid closure threat

Portree Nursery is set to hold an extraordinary general meeting next month (December) in a bid to recruit new directors amid the threat of potential closure.

The long-running childcare facility has been operating for close to three decades but could be forced to close its doors if it doesn’t fulfil its minimum requirement to have four directors on its board.

The nursery recently held its annual general meeting – on 15th November – but only three directors indicated they would remain in post.

Following the meeting, the nursery announced it will hold an EGM on Tuesday 6th December in what could be the last throw of the dice for the service.

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Portree Nursery Ltd opened on 4th October 1993 with a playgroup room for 20 children, a communal kitchen, toilets, and a daycare room for six children. In 1996, the building was extended to provide a larger daycare room, a fully equipped special needs area with teaching and relaxation rooms and a pre-school class for 21 children. In August 2003 the nursery was altered to provide a baby room.

Speaking to the Free Press, Portree Nursery manager Cassandra Bethune said: “We have three people who have been on the board for more than six years, and they were obviously going to step down pre-pandemic, but they have stuck around to support us. It is only fair for them to step away.

Cassandra added: “The nursery employs 17 people between here and pre-school.

“We try and keep it away from the rest of the staff, but all these people are relying on us, and if we can’t get a board together will these people be out of jobs?”

Fiona Robertson has two children, three-year-old Cleo, who goes to the nursery and Joey, who is five months.

She told the Free Press: “I have been on the board for two years and have loved it,

“There are very few facilities like this on the island, so if there is no nursery, then people won’t be able to go to work because there is no child care.

“I think it is a shame it is not supported a bit more because I don’t think people realise how serious this is. I couldn’t go back to work if the nursery was not here.”

Fellow board member Kenna Burd said: “My eldest, Finn, is six and he was here from nine months old and then Sadie is up in the pre-school now.

“It is not just about the impact on the parents and the staff, it is also about the experience of the kids. There is nowhere else like this, it is a social place. It is for their education and their development and is hugely important.”

Nursery assistant manager Claire Palmer said: “We need a variety of different people on our board allowing us to use different experiences and knowledge to support us. For more information about joining the Portree Nursery board, you can email Cassandra at: portree.nursery@btconnect.com

Article by Adam Gordon and image by Willie Urquhart.