Cash boost leads to extra nursery spots

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A north Northumberland nursery is to receive a major funding boost which will enable it create almost 30 new spaces.

The Government established an Early Years Childcare Capital Fund to support providers in delivering its new policy of 30 hours of free childcare per week for three and four-year-olds on a sustainable basis and has allocated £50million towards funding a range of providers across the country.

Northumberland County Council successfully bid for capital funding to expand childcare provision through the provision of free places across four settings in the county – Busy Bees Nursery in Seahouses, Bedlington West End First School and locations to be decided in Ashington and Blyth.

The grant awarded to Northumberland was £2,07million and, as part of the conditions of the grant, the local authority had to make a funding contribution of 25 per cent (£689,901), which has now been approved.

Of the total, £377,551 will go to Busy Bees to create 28 new spaces. Across the four settings, 291 spaces will be created.

The area’s county councillor, Guy Renner-Thompson, described it as ‘great news for Seahouses’.

“These new spaces will give more parents the opportunity to go to work without the stress of childcare costs,” he said.

The £690,000 contribution by the council is to be met through the Basic Need capital grant allocation, which is given to local authorities each year to help them fulfil their duty to make sure there are enough school places for children in their local area. Northumberland’s total allocation for 2011 to 2020 is £15.6million, of which £3.28million has yet to be allocated.