New fund for after school and holiday childcare

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Children and families will benefit from £3 million in funding to deliver community-based out-of-school care.

The Scottish Government’s new Access to Childcare Fund, which will run over a two-year period starting in April 2020, will provide equal opportunities for children to benefit from play-based experiences which can often be out of reach for families on low incomes.

Evidence shows that the cost of school-age child care could be a barrier for parents and carers looking to take up employment or study, or increase their working hours.

The social isolation experienced by some children during the school holidays as a result of low household income can have a negative impact on attainment, learning and wellbeing.

Taking part in holiday clubs and programmes can promote positive outcomes for children, as well as addressing issues like food insecurity.

The fund will establish new projects across Scotland to assess the impact of flexible and affordable out-of-school care for low income families, and is part of a range of measures to tackle child poverty in Scotland.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: ‘The evidence shows that providing accessible and affordable out-of-school child care can help low income families maximise their household incomes. Importantly, it can also deliver positive outcomes for children, providing opportunities for play and socialisation which is great for their wellbeing.

‘Child poverty levels are lower in Scotland than the rest of the UK – but we believe it is unacceptable it exists at all. This fund is part of the Scottish Government’s bold vision for eradicating child poverty in Scotland.

‘Our efforts stretch right across government to support the families that need it the most – and these efforts are already making a real difference to thousands of families.’