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Skye nursery closure in remote Elgol

Remy (left) and Indy with their father Marc and mother Ailsa Smith.
Remy (left) and Indy with their father Marc and mother Ailsa Smith.

A popular children’s nursery in one of the Highlands’ most remote communities will close today leaving parents to make round trips of almost 60 miles each day, to and from the nearest alternative venue.

The operators of the pre-school facility at Elgol Community Centre in the south of Skye had struggled to recruit staff and gave the council less than a month’s notice – to the frustration of parents.

One father said yesterday the closure would be hugely inconvenient and costly to his family and business because of the extra miles to Broadford.

Father of three-year-old twins Marc Smith, who with his wife Ailsa runs a film production company from Elgol, said: “This will have a massive impact on our lives and a huge effect on our business due to the hours involved.”

He only learned of the closure last week and said he had yet to see where the council had advertised for an alternative provider.

Broadford is “not an option,” according to Mr Smith.

He said: “From next week, my twins will be entitled to 16 hours per week of pre-school education.

“But there will be none unless we start travelling 60 miles per day at a cost of £300 per month.”

A spokeswoman for Highland Council said: “We were given formal notice by Cala (the Care and Learning Alliance) that they wished to decommission as the early learning and childcare provider in Elgol on August 5.

“Cala had for some time struggled to recruit staff and with the recent resignations of both the senior and temporary play workers they were left with no option but to withdraw as an organisation from running the service.”

She added that the council was keen to continue to provide the service but needed time to find a replacement provider.

“In the meantime, as has happened in the past when numbers of eligible children in the Elgol community has been low, pre-school nursery provision can be taken up at Broadford primary school nursery,” she said.

Cala failed to return calls yesterday.

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