OPFS celebrates 20 years of delivering Flexible Childcare Services
Twenty years ago, in the city of Dundee a little acorn was planted when One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) were officially registered to provide a flexible, home based, childcare service for the very first time. This was the first time any local authority had established a separate category for home based childcare services and, when it started, the only one in Scotland.
The service was officially opened by Councillor Helen Wright who came along on the first day of operations, 5th March 1999, to meet staff and the first family to use the service.
Over the years other providers began to offer similar services and OPFS continued to provide the service in Dundee and other locations across Scotland nurturing the first shoot of a little oak tree. The work undertaken by the team at OPFS consistently highlighted the need for more flexible childcare provision to help families who faced barriers in accessing more traditional models of childcare and OPFS continued to develop and extend the service.
That little acorn became a tough little sapling and is now a well rooted oak tree, strong and productive, delivering fully flexible childcare services in a day care setting in Dundee and specifically tailored services for children with additional support needs in Aberdeenshire.
OPFS have now taken the brave decision to allow that tree to spread its branches and start to create a forest, sharing the benefits of flexible provision, scaling up its delivery operations and creating a specialist childcare organisation, Flexible Childcare Services Scotland (FCSS).
FCSS, led by Susan McGhee, formerly with Bertram Nursery Group and BNG Training, has been set up to challenge traditional delivery models and provide high quality, fully flexible, accessible and affordable early learning and childcare services for all families, children and communities across Scotland. In addition to this FCSS is creating a unique and innovative support tool and accreditation scheme to help other providers adopt a more flexible delivery model.
The organisation has ambitious plans for the next twenty years but today is all about celebrating the growth achieved and the families supported since 4th March 1999, the day the first acorn was planted. To mark the occasion children at FCSS Dundee childcare service are planting a tree that they will nurture and grow in their outdoor area.
Lesley Tait, Service Manager at FCSS Dundee, said “We are really excited to mark twenty years of flexible childcare services with the planting of a new little tree. We plan to care for and nurture our tree in the same way we plan to care for and nurture our services, getting stronger day by day and year by year. We can’t wait to see where the next twenty years take us.”