Sunday 14 April 2024
 6°C   WNW Moderate Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Community / Recruitment difficulty forces Sandwick nursery to close

The Central Private Nursery in Sandwick's former Central Bakery.

THE CENTRAL Private Nursery and Out of School Care facility in Sandwick is set to close its doors in June after failing to recruit new staff.

Proprietor Mairi Jamieson said it “breaks her heart” to have to close the nursery after 20 years, with a couple of staff due to lose their jobs.

The private nursery’s closure comes at a time when Shetland Islands Council is recruiting to a host of early learning and childcare posts as part of a Scottish Government drive to increase the number of funded hours on offer.

Jamieson said that her nursery, which has about 20 children at the moment, finds it hard to compete with the council’s rates.

Unlike the Sandwick Junior High School nursery, the Central Private Nursery offers care for children as young as six months old – meaning the closure on 4 June will come as a particular blow to working parents with infants.

South mainland councillor George Smith gave his commitment that Shetland Islands Council would look into whether it can help to mitigate the loss of service in the area.

“I’m absolutely devastated,” Jamieson said.

“I’ve had this nursery for 20 years and it breaks my heart to have to do this, but there’s no other option.

“We’ve not been able to recruit more staff in the nursery, so therefore if we’ve not got the staff to provide the care for the children we’ve had no other option but to cease trading.”

Jamieson, who phoned up parents about the news earlier this week, conceded that people were “going for better paid jobs, which is totally understandable”.

She added that the nursery is a “very big part of the community”.

“We take children right from six months here, so we’ve got children under three years that can’t attend school nursery,” Jamieson said. “Those parents will have to look for other private care.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News


It is thought there is only one childminder in Sandwick at the moment, with a couple elsewhere in the south mainland.

There are a only limited number of private nurseries which can take children younger than three years old, including Lerwick’s Peerie Foxes and Hame Fae Hame in Scalloway.

Councillor Smith, who also chairs the council’s education and families committee, said Jamieson has run a “really valuable service” that has helped a lot of parents in Sandwick and the surrounding areas, calling the closure a “big loss”.

He said there will be a lack of provision in the area for childcare for younger ones and older children who may use the likes of Central Private Nursery after school – something which the government funded expansion of early learning hours will not cover.

“That’s the gap that’s going to be there,” Smith said.

“There’s no obligation on the council to provide that service, but I’ve had a number of parents on to me already really concerned about what’s going to happen.”

The councillor said he had spoken to council chief executive Maggie Sandison and director of children’s services Helen Budge about what the local authority could do to help parents.

“I do have a commitment from the officers that they will look to do what they can to see how we can mitigate the situation, certainly in the short term at least,” he said.

Smith stressed the council could not make any promises on this front, while at this stage it is unclear exactly how the situation could be mitigated.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.