More child care places available in Norfolk after £300,000 government cash boost
Two Norfolk preschools are set to grow thanks to a £300,000 grant awarded as part of a government drive to unlock more child care places for working parents.
The Rainbow Centre, at RAF Marham, and Scarning Preschool have been given the funds as part of a £50m national drive, announced today by education secretary Justine Greening, to help deliver the government's pledge of 30 hours free child care for parents of three and four-year-olds.
The Marham centre will receive £230,000 from the Department for Education, which - when added to £100,000 already raised - will see them extend the site and offer 61 extra spaces.
Dee Gent, centre manager, said: 'We are extremely pleased with the result and very excited that there will be a fantastic opportunity to offer 61 extra places. Parents will now have a realistic option to go back to work, safe in the knowledge that their children are being well cared for. The contribution from the government will alleviate the financial pressures that working families face in the world today.'
Scarning Preschool has long hoped to replace a tired mobile classroom with a new brick building.
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The staff and committee had already raised £187,000 towards a new nursery, but will now see their plans become a reality thanks to a £99,500 grant from the DfE. They hope to be ready by early summer, and will provide 37 extra spaces.
Rosey Grauwiler, preschool manager, and Donna Wales, deputy manager, said they were 'incredibly grateful' and thanked all those who had supported them.
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'A new purpose-built building for children aged two to four will give us the opportunity to extend our provision, supporting our already excellent reputation,' they said.
'We have a very exciting few months ahead of us and we are looking forward to September 2017 and all the opportunities this new building will provide for our community.'
Nationally, about 200 nurseries and preschools will receive a slice of the funding to invest in new spaces, convert old ones and upgrade facilities.
Further down the line, more than £2m will be invested in six so-called opportunity areas - ones identified as social mobility coldspots - of which Norwich is one.
Roger Smith, chairman of Norfolk County Council's Children's Services Committee, said: 'Many of the county's families rely on childcare to enable them to work and we are anticipating high demand for the new thirty hour offer.
'These exciting new builds are a very positive step towards making childcare as accessible to as many parents as possible and giving children the very best start in life.'
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