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  • Writer's pictureLinda Andrews - Editorial Assistant, Nuse Online

Scottish Early Years Professional Launches Play & Learn Sessions



An Inverclyde family support worker has launched a range of play and learn sessions to encourage children’s positive early experiences after she accessed expert support from Business Gateway, Scotland’s national business advisory service.


Jacqui Jack’s Play & Learn sessions provide a safe, stimulating, and nurturing environment that encourages creativity, exploration, and discovery through play-based learning. The sessions support the five main areas of child development, including cognitive development, fine motor skills, communication, and language, as well as emotional and social development.


Launched in September last year, the business was founded by Jacqui Jack, who had worked as a family support worker at Inverclyde Council for over twenty years.


Jacqui had always had a vested interest in how children learn, and the impact of positive play on educational attainment and the attachment it creates between parents and children. During her time at the council, she set up a group for parents of children under 5 to ensure they knew about the importance of play and how it can support early brain development.


Having been made redundant from her role in June, and buoyed by the support of her peers, Jacqui was encouraged to set up her own business which would offer these sessions to children across the Inverclyde region.


Armed with an idea but lacking the practical skills and knowledge to navigate the challenges of setting up a new business, Jacqui approached Business Gateway in July 2023 for help and support.


Jacqui accessed a suite of Business Gateway’s start-up services, which included one-to-one support from a dedicated business adviser, as well as advice on her business plan, marketing, and routes to funding.


Through Business Gateway, Jacqui was also able to learn the skills needed to set up a new business through practical online webinars and various market research reports.


Business Gateway was able to signpost Jacqui to just under £1,000 of funding through the new business start-up grant and the new business marketing grant, which helped her purchase a laptop. Having this new technology has allowed Jacqui to streamline her online booking process and manage incoming enquiries from potential clients.


Jacqui Jack, owner, Jacqui Jack’s Play & Learn, said:

“Despite having extensive experience working with children and their families, taking the plunge to start my own business was really daunting and I was anxious about setting up."

“My Business Gateway adviser provided very helpful advice throughout the process, and their support gave me the confidence to turn my vision into reality. Feedback from parents and families has been really encouraging and has helped me realise what a unique and quality service I can provide for young children.”


Alexis Watson, adviser, Business Gateway, said:

“It’s been so rewarding to support Jacqui with her business venture, and the positive reception from the local community is a testament to her hard work and commitment over these last few months. I’m sure her sessions will continue to prove popular with families across Inverclyde for years to come.”

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