A Blackthorn community charity is set to meet rising nursery place demands in the east of Northampton by taking over a pub.
The freehold of the Pig and Whistle on Bridge Court is owned by Northampton Borough Council.
But now the authority has agreed to grant a 25-year lease to Blackthorn Good Neighbours (BGN), which runs a children’s centre just metres away, to convert the building into a nursery.
The Pig and Whistle is currently operating as a pub, but negotiations are underway between the council and its current tenants, Enterprise Inns, about them vacating the premises.
Manager of BGN Catherine White, said; “Blackthorn and Goldings has a very high level of two-year-olds that qualify for a free nursery ‘voucher’.
“But there are so few places available on their doorstep. In September there will be 600 two-year-olds eligible and nowhere near enough provision to meet that demand.
“This is part of our plan to help address that.”
BGN is now seeking to secure funding to renovate the premises.
The county council has agreed to fund £150,000, and the charity has secured a further £20,000 from the National Lottery.
If a further £30,000 can be found, the nursery could open by January next year on a session-only basis, with plans further down the line to convert the premises into a full day-nursery and a ‘community hub’ for groups to hire and meet.
Ms White said extra nursery provision will be a big boost for the area.
She said: “The outcomes for children are greatly enhanced if they are school ready by the time they get to primary education.”
BGN is hosting a fun day at Blackthorn Community Centre on Saturday, July 19 at Blackthorn Community Centre, between 11am and 2pm, to raise money for the project.