Earlier today, Cabinet agreed proposals to refurbish the Early Childhood Centre at Newton Street in Catrine to ensure it meets the new National Standards for early learning and childcare provision, as part of the Council’s commitment to delivering high quality Early Years education across East Ayrshire.
Today’s agreement sees a departure from the previous recommendation to Cabinet when councillors agreed to purchase the Catrine Environmental Visitor Interpretation Centre (CEVIC) for use as an Early Childhood Centre, as the preferred option to Early Years provision in the village.
Although the previous recommendations agreed last year would have meant a more modern building and no need for a temporary decant to an alternative site, the local members encouraged further engagement with parents, staff and community groups and it became clear that there is a preference for the facility to stay in the current location.
Cabinet also considered a series of measures to assist Catrine Community Trust, the current owners of the CEVIC, who have been experiencing financial difficulties since the building closed in 2018 and agreed to proceed with the acquisition of the CEVIC from the Trust as previously agreed in August 2019. Expressions of interest for the future use of the building have been invited from all community groups within Catrine.
In a joint statement, local members for the ward, Councillors Claire Leitch, Neil McGhee, Jim Roberts and Alyson Simmons, welcomed the outcome of today’s discussions.
“As local elected members we have listened actively to people within the community and we are convinced that the existing Early Years facility in Catrine should be upgraded to deliver the new standards that we are rolling out across East Ayrshire.
“Whilst this provides less certainty about the future use of the CEVIC, we look forward to working with groups within the Catrine community to explore sustainable options for the building.”
Expressions of interest should be submitted by 31 March 2021, and any proposals will be considered by Cabinet thereafter.
The Council offers support to groups to develop community asset transfer proposals including help with the development of constitutions and business plans.