Minister for Childcare and Early Years Mark McDonald Visits CALA


We were delighted to recently have a visit from Mark McDonald MSP to our Inverness Office. Mr McDonald is Scotland’s Minister for Childcare & Early Years.

The Minister met with two of the participants in the #openingdoors project, Adrienne and Marc, as well as Mentoring Support Officer Kirsty Hunter, and CALA Chief Executive Valerie Gale.

Mr McDonald was very interested to hear of the fantastic work being done by #openingdoors, which provides mentorship to young people interested in a career in childcare. #openingdoors participant Marc explained to the Minister that he wished the project had existed when he initially left school, as it would have encouraged him to pursue a career in childcare sooner.

Adrienne discussed with the minister the positive impact CALA’s E-Learning Zone has had on her training. As an #openingdoors participant, Adrienne has free access to our online courses, allowing her to increase her knowledge of subjects relating to childcare and download certificates of achievement to keep for her records.

“It was fantastic to meet the staff at CALA and Adrienne and Marc who are participating in the Opening Doors programme. I’m delighted the Scottish Government can provide funding to CALA to support their vital work in the Highlands and Moray through their early learning and childcare provision and the Opening Doors programme which helps young people into a career in childcare. I’m looking forward to attending their conference in September to hear more about their work.”

– Mark McDonald, Minister for Childcare and Early Years

We were delighted the Minister decided to take the time to visit our offices, and allow us the opportunity to outline the various projects CALA are involved with.

Mark McDonald has very kindly agreed to make the opening remarks at the 2016 CALA Conference, due to be held on the 30th of September. We are thrilled Mr McDonald has agreed to attend, and are very much looking forward to hearing his opening remarks.

To CALA Member Groups with Charitable Status


A lot of committees are now organising their Annual General Meetings for handover to new committees. As part of this handover, annual accounts are also being prepared showing the financial picture for the year and addressing all possible liabilities for the future.

For those of you employing staff, we want to remind you of the need to ensure you have a redundancy reserve in place. You can easily work out how much this is by visiting the Government’s redundancy pay calculator. Have your staff member’s date of birth and length of service ready, and the calculator will work out how much you need to consider setting aside.

Charity Reserves Advice for Committee Members

The following information is taken from the UK Government’s guidance on ‘managing charity assets and resources’ and resources‘, and outlines the importance of a charity maintaining a reserve:

A charity should provide reliable and consistent services to its beneficiaries beyond the immediate future. It needs to be able to meet unexpected expenses, absorb setbacks and take advantage of change and opportunities for development when they arise. One way of doing this is to set aside income, when it can afford it, as a reserve.

Reserves are part of a charity’s unrestricted funds that is freely available to spend on any of the charity’s purposes.

Charities can be affected by changes in the economic climate. This means that many charities will at some point face financial uncertainty therefore robust procedures need to be in place for the planning, management and review of its finances, e.g. redundancy reserve for staff.

Chief Executive Val Gale drops by Wimberley Estate Childcare Centre to say ‘thank you’


“Thank you to Wimberley Estate Childcare Centre for hosting a coffee and cake evening where Val Gale thanked some of the young staff and their managers in helping achieve the accreditation for the IIYP award.

We also had the opportunity to see all the fantastic changes made to Wimberley, inside and out. Worth a visit to Jane for ideas. Well done!”

Julia McNeil, Childhood Practice Manager 

Click here to download a Word document that gives more detail on the visit. The report also features photographs that highlight the fantastic renovations that took place recently at Wimberley.

Childcare Reform Report

National Care Standards are changing – CALA forums update