Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale parents urged to take up free childcare places (From Blackburn Citizen)
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Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale parents urged to take up free childcare places
8:00am Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
PARENTS are being urged to take up the offer of free childcare places being made available to help disadvantaged families in Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale.
It was announced earlier this year that the county council had secured £27m over two years so one-fifth of two-year-olds would get free early education and childcare this September, with that figure doubling in September 2014.
Now, parents are being encouraged to take up the provision as part of an ongoing initiative promoted by Lancashire County Council’s family information service.
Families on a range of benefits will qualify for the scheme – and county officials have pledged an additional £1.2million so youngsters with additional needs, those from armed forces backgrounds and traveller children will also benefit.
Bob Stott, the county council’s early years director, said: "We were one of the first authorities to pilot free places for two-year-olds, and the results have been very encouraging.
“We will be working closely with our local childminders, children's centres and nurseries to provide high-quality places for children, which is key to helping them get a good start in life.
“Toddlers gain so much from spending time together and they learn without even knowing it.”
Those receiving income support or income-related job seekers’, employment or support allowances, child tax credit, state pension credit or immigration assistance are among those who will qualify. The care on offer covers 15 hours per week, over 38 weeks of the year.
County officials estimate that 2,600 children could benefit this year and this figure could rise to 6,700 within 12 months.
Applicants can call the authority’s family information service on 0800 195 0137 or they can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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