Twin childcare facilities welcomed in single city district

Two new and ultra-modern district nurseries have opened in north-west Brussels to cater for the fast-expanding population of over 96 000 in Molenbeek. Offering a total of 84 places to children who speak either French or Dutch, they were constructed by making good use of abandoned buildings and sites.

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Two nurseries created for Milieux d’accueil de la petite enfance ‘Rives-Ouest’, Brussels © T.Brisco Two nurseries created for Milieux d’accueil de la petite enfance ‘Rives-Ouest’, Brussels © T.Brisco

" Our two Rives-Ouest nurseries contribute to the district’s goal of doubling the places available for young children by 2015, as well as enhancing the quality of life of all our inhabitants. "

Donatienne Deby, Assistant Coordinator for social affairs & sustainability, Molenbeek-Saint Jean Commune, Brussels

The two nurseries were officially opened in May 2014 and started welcoming children in December 2014/January 2015. More than two years of work included clean-up of pollution at both sites, the laying of foundations and general construction or renovation.

Located on the busy street of Chaussée de Gand, the French-speaking nursery ‘Les Couleurs d’Olina’ offers 48 places for children. The project included purchase of a site, construction of a passive-energy building, plus the laying out of an external area with a large garden and small courtyard.

The nursery for Dutch-speaking children, Kinderdagverblijf ‘Het Molentje’ on Rue Jean-Baptiste Decock, offers 36 places. This project included the purchase and renovation of a building as well as an external area. The whole building is certified as a low-energy design.

Both nurseries are part of larger refurbishment projects (at building and district levels), which include the development of housing projects to keep up with population growth.

Benefiting the whole community

It is hoped these new childcare facilities will also improve the lives of local families, by facilitating parents’ access to time for jobs and training courses. The Molenbeek municipal authorities estimate that the running of these facilities will jointly create 25 new full-time equivalent jobs.

The Rives-Ouest nurseries have been integrated into the Brussels ‘regional nurseries plan’, with a view to creating more places for children aged three to thirty-six months. Both also come under the city’s Rives-Ouest sustainable quarter contract. Such contracts – which are managed through partnerships between Brussels-Capital Region and the concerned municipalities – aim to enhance the attractiveness of an area that has been identified as disadvantaged. They notably improve existing accommodation and/or infrastructure or have created new infrastructure.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Milieux d’accueil de la petite enfance ‘Rives-Ouest’” is EUR 3 406 742, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 1 703 371 from the Operational Programme “Brussels Capital Region” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

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