Scottish Government announces £3m fund for out-of-school care
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The Scottish Government has announced a £3m fund for community-based out-of-school care.
The new Access to Childcare Fund will allow children from low-income families to benefit from play-based out-of-school care and holiday clubs, which can often be unaffordable.
This will help address issues such as holiday food poverty and loneliness during the school holiday as well as giving parents more opportunity for employment.
The social isolation experienced by some children during the school holiday as a result of low household income can have a negative impact on attainment, learning and wellbeing, while taking part in holiday clubs and programmes can promote positive outcomes, the Scottish Government said.
Evidence shows that the cost of school-age childcare could also be a barrier for parents and carers looking to take up employment or study or increase their working hours.
The fund will establish new projects across Scotland to assess the impact of flexible and affordable out-of-school care for low income families.
It will run over a two-year period starting in April 2020 and is part of a range of measures to tackle child poverty in Scotland.
The announcement comes ahead of a parliamentary statement this week on tackling child poverty.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “The evidence shows that providing accessible and affordable out-of-school childcare 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.”