The gloves are off.

The gloves are off.

The gloves are off. In one corner we have Health Protection Scotland. In the other corner is The Secret Garden, a small outdoor nursery that just want to allow children to enjoy all that is great about the outdoors. In the middle, or more aptly, on the fence, is the Care Commission. It is a David and Goliath struggle, The Secret Garden have no resources and are relying solely on the endeavours of parents and ‘experts’ to give them support and guidance and most importantly encouragement that they are right to take a stance for what they believe. There is no argument – everyone agrees that hand washing is the best and most practical solution to keeping your hands clean but no one is prepared to accept the responsibility of suggesting a suitable alternative when there is no soap and water for miles around. Nor will the authorities allow the nursery to conduct its own risk assessment of the potential dangers, even though all parents who send their children to the nursery are made very aware of what the hand hygiene policy is and must sign a disclaimer.

There may well be bigger questions here regarding government funding which cannot be addressed in a few column inches but my feeling is that not everyone is putting all their cards on the table as to why The Secret Garden are being pressured into adopting unworkable and even unsafe practices or worse being forced to close. Maybe they are just a small pawn within a much bigger game being played out in the upper echelons of endless government cutbacks and funding. However, over the last few weeks the nursery have become more resolute in their cause, there is a somewhat steely reserve coming to the fore and they realise they are not alone. Many ‘experts’ have offered support and advice free of charge and further welcome support is coming in from many sources both publicly and privately, all of whom realise the implications are much wider and far reaching than those of a small nursery in the East Neuk of Fife.

An email of encouragement (enquiries@secretgardenoutdoor-nursery.co.uk) or a follow on twitter (@thesecretgardeners) would be very welcome, I’m sure.

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