Resort gets cash for child care places

West Park Kindergarten
West Park Kindergarten
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Blackpool is to get a six-figure share of a £50m cash pot to provide more child care places.

West Park Kindergarten on West Park Drive and Happy Tots on Egerton Road will be extended while a new nursery will be created in the resort to cope with demand.

Thousands of new childcare places for young children are to be created across the country under a £50m scheme, ministers announced today.

The move will help to deliver a Government pledge to offer three and four-year-olds in England 30 hours of free care a week, according to the Department for Education (DfE).

It said that almost 200 nurseries and pre-schools will benefit from the funding pot, allowing them to invest in new buildings, upgrade old ones and improve facilities.

Nearly 9,000 places are expected to be created due to the new money.

West Park Kindergarten will get £150,158 while Happy Tots will receive £102,880. A total of £192,361 will be assigned to a private operator for a new nursery.

More than £2m of the public money is to be invested in the Government’s six “opportunity areas” - places considered to be falling behind on social mobility which includes Blackpool.

The other five are Derby, Norwich, Oldham, Scarborough and West Somerset.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said: “We want Britain to be a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.

“That means removing the barriers facing parents who are struggling to balance their jobs with the cost of childcare, and spreading the opportunities available to hard-working families across the country.

“This funding, backed by our record £6 billion investment in childcare per year by 2020, means we can make more free places available to more families across the country, helping us to deliver our childcare offer to thousands more children.”

Under the current system, all three and four-year-olds in England, as well as disadvantaged two-year-olds, are eligible for 15 free hours of childcare a week.

This is due to be doubled to 30 hours nationwide later this year.

Early years groups and experts have raised concerns about the move, warning that nurseries and other childcare providers need more money from government in order to meet the 30 free hours offer.