A new business is always a challenge, but one couple saw huge potential of setting up within the Midlothian town of Gorebridge thanks to the launch of the Borders Railway.
Prior to the railway opening, Gorebridge had already begun to respond to the opportunities that the new line was set to bring, with new housing developments offering more affordable homes for families keen to retain their connection to Edinburgh but benefit from more space.
It was this influx of people and the promise of better connectivity which was a major factor in Mel Scrimgeour’s decision to open a private nursery on the town’s Hunterfield Road.
Mel and her husband David converted what had been a largely derelict Victorian building into Newbyres Nursery, which sits just a few minutes’ walk from the station.
Mel says: “The fact you can get affordable housing and be in the centre of Edinburgh in about 20 minutes is a big attraction. A lot of our parents walk here in the morning – we’re open from 7.30am until 6pm – park the buggy and then go on to the station.”
The nursery currently has 72 children registered, 25% more than the projected figures for this period, with new bookings coming daily.
The Scrimgeours took around a year and a half to refurbish Newbyres Hall, partly with the help of a £120,000 grant from the Gorebridge Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS).
The business now has 12 staff and Mel, a former community speech and language therapist at Newbyres Medical Practice, plans to employ more people. The Borders Railway is also proving an added bonus for the team already in place.
Mel says: “Our Early Learners Supervisor doesn’t drive and is moving to Stow because she can be in work in about half an hour.
“The railway is a real lifeline for all of us. We’ve already taken the nursery children on the train to a storytelling session at the mining museum at Newtongrange. I live in Eskbank and we can walk to the station from the house so our family use it too.”
For more information on Newbyres Nursery visit www.newbyresnursery.com