A HISTORIC building in Fratton which has been derelict for years is to reopen as a nursery.
The building dates from 1669 and spent 250 years as the Dog and Duck pub.
It was also a NatWest branch and it was one of its employees, Steve Cripps, who helped Lorraine and Rob Gahagan secure the £275,000 for it to become Twinkle Cottage day care nursery.
The nursery will provide care for up to 48 children and create 17 new jobs in the area, and is the couple’s second nursery following on from their Twinkle Star day care nursery in North End.
Lorraine said: ‘Rob and I are thrilled that our goal of opening a second nursery is becoming a reality.
‘Rob and I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that is making the creation of Twinkle Cottage possible, particularly our NatWest healthcare manager, Steve Cripps, for all his help and advice and, of course, for providing us with the all-important funding.’
The £275,000 price tag includes the cost of buying the building and renovating it to ensure it is a safe and colourful place for children.
Steve, who is now NatWest’s specialist healthcare relationship manager, added: ‘I’m thrilled that Lorraine and Rob are doing so well and that NatWest has been able to provide the support and funding they need to make their goal of expanding their business become a reality.
‘It’s great to see new life being breathed into the old building – it certainly looks like it is going to be more fun than when I worked there – and the creation of new jobs that it will bring.
‘Lorraine and Rob are proof that local businesses are still thriving and that NatWest is still very much open for business and as committed as ever to providing funding and helping business dreams come true.’