Tweedbank Early Learners (SCIO) started life as Tweedbank Playgroup back in the 1970s, the setting became a Registered Unincorporated Charity in 1978 and then moved to become a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation in 2018.
The charity has designated space within Tweedbank Community Centre and offer childcare sessions for children from the age of 2. Working in partnership with Scottish Borders Council, Tweedbank provide funded Early Learning and Childcare from the term after a child turns 3 until they begin Primary school.
The Board of Trustees oversee the smooth running of the charity along with the Nursery Manager, who is also a Board Trustee. Currently Tweedbank Early Learners employ 7 staff, all of whom are qualified Early Years practitioners.
Tweedbank have been paying a real Living Wage to all staff since September 2020 and became aware of Living Wage accreditation through social media. Their decision to become an accredited Living Wage employer underpins their commitment to their staff, fair work practices and aligns with their values.
“We feel that becoming accredited is a ‘quality mark’ for families using the service, and partners such as Scottish Borders Council. Paying the real Living Wage is a positive statement to our community of how much we value our staff team.”
Annmarie Robertson, Manager & Trustee
Like so many other employers, the pandemic threw many challenges at Tweedbank including uncertainty, and priorities had to be quickly reassessed and adjusted accordingly. While they continued to pay a real Living Wage, they decided to defer accreditation until their situation became more stable.
“As a charity, of course we need to ensure our sustainability and be able to continue investing in our quality of provision for the families using our service. Our staff are the heart of our organisation however, and we believe that paying them the real Living Wage is the right thing to do”
Annmarie Robertson, Manager & Trustee
Tweedbank’s aspiration of becoming an accredited Living Wage employer was realised during Living Wage Week 2021 and as they already paid their staff a real Living Wage, the process was relatively simple.
The real Living Wage is the only rate calculated according to the cost of living and is applied to all directly employed and regular contracted staff. It also applies to all workers who are 18 years old and over.
Tweedbank’s accreditation now allows them to share their commitment with the wider community. It also reassures staff that their wages will be reviewed annually and increased in line with the real Living Wage. Tweedbank believe that using the real Living Wage as the basis of salary structure ensures fairness and equality within their organisation.
“Working for a real Living Wage employer makes staff feel more appreciated for the work they are doing. Childcare is not an easy job to do as you have a large amount of responsibility. Each day is different as children change, develop and grow every session.”
Melanie, Early Years Practitioner
Manager and Trustee, Annmarie, believes that maintaining a strong relationship with employees is key to the success of any organisation and paying dedicated staff the wages they deserve gives added benefits such as increased staff morale and helps in the recruitment and retention of staff. It also raises the positive profile of the nursery, making them an attractive employer.
“Working for an employer who pays the real Living Wage rather than the minimum wage gives a real sense of value and appreciation, brings out the best and gives a feeling of self-worth. Knowing your employer wants to do the best they can for you really means a lot.”
Lynn Law, Senior Early Years Practitioner
Download a pdf version of Tweedbank’s Employer Profile here.