Eastbourne Pre-School has successfully bid for a grant which will allow them to care for an additional 16 children aged 3-4.

Situated in Darlington’s Eastbourne Sports Complex, the setting applied to the Department of Education with the hope of increasing available spaces at their site.

Currently they offer 16 funded places for eligible 2-year-olds, alongside a 15-hour nursery funding grant for three- and four-year-olds. This grant will enable them to offer up to 30 hours of schooling per week from September for families of eligible 3- and 4-year-olds.

Having been successful in their bid, they will now share in a £50m Early Years Capital Fund which has been provided by the Government and will be shared across 200 early years projects.

Owner of Eastbourne Pre-School, Gail Wilkinson, spoke of their success, saying:

“We are absolutely delighted to have been given the opportunity to extend our early years provision.

“We feel that this development will be of great benefit to local working families.

“We are really looking forward to holding open days during June and July, allowing interested families the opportunity to take a look around and play and explore, before they decide if they would like to take up their entitlement with us from September.”

As well as being able to provide additional spaces, the funds will also be used to revamp underused facilities at the setting, used by 2-4 year olds.

Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, Councillor Cyndi Hughes, said of the grant:

“Gaining this funding means that more 30 Hours Childcare places will be made available to those local families that need them most.

“These extra places will help more parents manage childcare costs – whether they’re parents looking for work or parents hoping to increase their working hours.

“That’s great news for families and for our local economy.”

Manager of the sports complex, Paul Foreman was pleased that the additional funding would be beneficial for the complex as a whole, saying:

 “We are delighted, this will only enhance our offer on site and ensure local children continue to receive a high quality childcare service at the sports complex.”

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