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Childcare offer extended to new areas of city

A SCHEME offering up to 30 hours a week of early years' funded childcare is making a real difference to families in Swansea, according to the boss of one busy nursery.

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The pilot project funded by the Welsh Government and run by Swansea Council has seen hundreds of three and four-year-olds benefit from the offer.

It was launched six months ago in seven areas of Swansea and now the council and Welsh Government have agreed to extend it to Penderry, Kingsbridge, Upper Loughor, Lower Loughor, Penyrheol, Cockett, Llansamlet, Penllegaer and Gowerton.

Penllergaer, Gowerton and Llansamlet are being rolled out this month and the others as soon as possible after that.

Eligible families get a total of 30 hours of government-funded childcare from registered childcare and early years' education providers for 48 weeks of the year, including 30 hours of childcare during school holidays.

The areas where the pilot is being currently being run are Dunvant, Penclawdd, Llangyfelach, West Cross, Morriston, Pontarddulais and Gorseinon.

Highgate Day Nursery in Morriston is one of those taking part in the scheme.

Owner Jayne Lewis who has 25 years of experience in the sector, said: "We've had quite a bit of positive feedback from parents. Some parents who were with us before have seen their childcare bills reduced and it's made life easier for them. We've also got a few new parents who have started work.

"We run a really large play scheme at our Morriston site and that's worked really well because they can have their 30 hours free during the holidays and so parents can work during the holidays whereas maybe they couldn't before. The fact the Welsh Government has provided it for 48 weeks of the year has made a big difference."

Jennifer Raynor, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Lifelong Learning, said: "It is very exciting that the Welsh Government has agreed to a big expansion of the scheme across Swansea.

"It follows on from a successful launch in July and is already helping to change lives, supporting parents who are already in work but need good quality pre-school education and childcare."

"One of the biggest barriers to work for many parents or carers is the cost or the availability of childcare and this pilot project will help address those issues."

Swansea is one of seven areas in Wales piloting the programme the Welsh Government intend to roll out across the country by 2020. 

Eligible parents have to be working the equivalent of at least 16 hours a week at national living wage or national minimum wage, therefore earning at least £107 per week.

To see if you are eligible call the Family Information Service on 01792 517222.


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