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£1.7M CREATES 4,000 NEW CHILDCARE PLACES ACROSS SCOTLAND

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The New Opportunities Fund, which distributes national lottery 'good cause' money to health, education and environm...
The New Opportunities Fund, which distributes national lottery 'good cause' money to health, education and environment projects, has announced awards of£1,649,520 under its Out Of School Hours Childcare programme to 15 Scottish local authorities. Since the launch of this programme, the fund has helped create nearly 20,000 new childcare places across Scotland.

The awards will enable 27 after-school clubs, nurseries, community groups as well as local authorities across Scotland to provide a further 4,000 new childcare places for children and young people before and after school as well as during the summer holidays.

The fund's Scotland board member, David Campbell, said: 'The point of this programme is to allow children and young people from all over Scotland to access high quality childcare before and after school and during the holidays, which will benefit their general well-being. The activities on offer to them will allow them to develop educationally, socially and creatively and will allow their parents to either continue or return to work.'

One Plus: One Parent Families received the largest award of£266,691 to create 99 before-school, 175 after-school and 199 holiday places for children aged between 4 and 12 years of age in South Lanarkshire. The award will also contribute to the employment of 73 part-time staff.

John Findlay, chairperson, The South Lanarkshire Childcare Partnership welcomed today's news. He said: 'The South Lanarkshire Childcare Consortium bid represents a true partnership venture. Through the South Lanarkshire Childcare Partnership we were able to work with the local public, private and voluntary sectors to identify where the need for childcare was greatest and also to plan how this need could be met. The Childcare Partnership and South Lanarkshire Council welcome the New Opportunities Fund's investment in new childcare services for local families. This is the first consortium bid from South Lanarkshire and its success will lead to a significant number of new childcare places.'

Fife Council received£154,512 to create 220 after-school places, 220 before-school places and 150 holiday places for children aged from 4 to14 years at seven sites in the Fife area. Nine local schools will benefit from this new funding. This award will help employment within the area by creating positions for one full-time and twenty-three part-time staff.

A further three Fife projects will benefit from this month's round of awards. Fife Childcare Partnership receives£119,432, creating 303 new places for children aged between 3 and 14 years of age, Thornton Out of School Club will be able to create 60 new places thanks to an award of£18,748 and Lynburn Healthy Start Club is using their award of£2,079 to create 70 new childcare places.

Cllr Helen Law, chair of Fife's Childcare Partnership, explained: ''We're delighted to have received this boost from the New Opportunities Fund. This will enable us to create hundreds of new after-schooland other out of school childcare places in Central and West Fife communities where, at present, there are few alternatives for children whose parents are at work or college.''

Another major recipient is the Scottish Childminding Association. Their Highland wing today receives£129,446 to create 95 after-school, 96 before-school and 97 holiday places for children aged 3-14 years old throughout the Highlands and Western Isles. The money will contribute towards the cost of employing 31 full-time staff as well as other revenue costs.

Katie Adam from the Scottish Childminding Association said: 'This is a great and a first opportunity for rural childminders to be assisted to provide sustainable out of school childcare. 31 partners will benefit throughout Highland & Western Isles, through start up support in training, marketing and providing equipment. Scottish Childminding Association hopes this will be the first of many such opportunities in childminding.'

Today's awards are made from the New Opportunities Fund's Out of School Hours Childcare programme. To date a total of£7,224,246 has been awarded from this programme in Scotland.

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