Linktown Nursery had been based in premises at the back of the Nairn College building since 2019 until a huge tree fell on it during Storm Arwen in November last year.
Fortunately no-one was injured in the incident as it happened after-hours but the damage was so bad that the repairs would have taken months and as it wasn’t feasible for the nursery to stay closed for that long, there was no alternative but to find new premises.
Owner Sara McCrae said: “We were based in Nairn campus until the tree hit the nursery during Storm Arwen. The tree broke in half and landed on my car!
"Luckily no-one was injured or hurt as it happened after hours. Emergency services were at the scene to cut the power to the building and corner it off.
“But it was devastating for us at that point as we had recently put flooring throughout and re-furbished our outdoor area adding more space to it.”
She continued: “The damage was kept to one end of the building which was the children’s toilets, nappy change and office. But due to the damage to the large wall behind the nursery, we couldn’t access it and the only option was to find other premises.
"The repairs would take at least six months, maybe more and we couldn’t stay closed for that long.”
Sara said she searched for any building she could find but unfortunately there was nothing suitable that would comply with government legalities and guidelines.
However, finally they managed to negotiate a deal for a building in Balfour Street, Kirkcaldy.
Sara said the property needed a lot of work: “We had to add kitchens and bathrooms but if we didn’t find this venue then the the decision would have to have been made to find new nursery spaces for all our families.
"We only got the keys on December 21 and managed to start work on December 26. Finding tradespeople at short notice, during Christmas and New Year and when all the building merchants are closed, was extremely difficult. However, we worked long hours to make sure our nursery was ready for an inspection on January 6.”
She said they made sure all of the progress on the work was shared with parents and settling in to the new premises was done in phases so the transition would be a positive experience.
"We have also been recognised by the council for our new garden area. We managed to build it up from mud in a few short weeks using building materials, skip items and donations. We have had a lot of compliments on what we have been able to do in such a short period of time.”
She added: “Our nursery caters for children aged two-five years. Our new premises is larger than the last one so we can accommodate more children. At the minute we are still doing repairs in one half of our nursery and hope to have this open very soon.”