Gourock kids say goodbye to Gamble Children’s Centre

by Rebecca Garrett

There were many teary eyes as kids from Gamble Children’s Centre performed at the nursery’s last ever summer concert.

The centre on King Street closed its doors for the last time on Wednesday, June 26 after 21 years. But its last ever concert had an added poignancy - head of centre Margaret Sutherland was retiring.

Margaret described the show as “a very emotional” one.  She told s1gourock: “The concert went well.  We always have one at the end of term but this was just extra special because it was the last one.

“I’m retiring after 30 years. It was emotional for the other staff too because many of them have been here for years. I think the shortest time any of our current staff have been with us is about two-and-a-half years.”

Gamble Children’s Centre is amalgamating with Gourock Pre-5 Centre and Gourock Park Pre-School. As s1gourock reported recently, the new local authority early years establishment will be called Binnie Street Children’s Centre.

The history of Gamble Children’s Centre is embedded in the local community. Margaret said: “About 33 years ago, myself and a few parents thought that there wasn’t much in the way of nurseries in the Gourock area so we started up a playgroup in the community hall. It survived for some years, I think about nine.

“The building we were in adjoins the community hall. It was the former Gourock Library and we got it after we applied for the use of the premises from the local council.

"We took the keys in about 1988 or 1989 and officially opened in 1991 after some development works were done. Up until we closed, we’d been going for years. We started small and we grew.”

When the centre opened in 1991, Margaret was running it on a voluntary basis. She said: “We managed to get some grant funding and we started a group for pre-nursery age called the Tweenies. If we’d patented that at the time, we’d be very rich now!”

Until its closure, Gamble Children’s Centre offered out-of-school care for 52 weeks of the year, with around 74 kids registered in that service.  

Margaret said: “We have provided a great service to the local community. We will be sad to see it go but we have to move on.

"When the local authority approached us to amalgamate, it was what I had been campaigning for the whole time. I’ve fulfilled my dreams and it was time to retire.”

A sad time for Gourock. What are your memories of Gamble Children’s Centre? Share your stories here at s1gourock.


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