Boost for free childcare scheme

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A scheme in Wigan offering free childcare to parents has been expanded after proving a massive success.

Organisers initially allocated 415 places but such was the demand it was later increase to 621.

Under the Government-funded project, parents are given 30 hours of free childcare.

Wigan was one of eight local authorities chosen to pilot the scheme from September 2016.

The project was designed to support the government’s drive to encourage parents to return to, or extend their working hours.

James Winterbottom, director for children and young people’s services at Wigan Council, said: “As a pilot area for 30 hours free childcare we’ve already seen the fantastic benefits that it brings for both working parents and children.

“I’d encourage families to find out about what support they are entitled to and we want everyone to benefit from both tax-free childcare and 30 hours free childcare.”

He added: “It is easy to find out more and we’d urge parents to sign up before the summer holidays so go to childcare-support.tax.service.gov.uk/ to find out more and apply for the support.”

A council report also laid out next steps for a full marketing campaign to ensure eligible parents were aware of the childcare offer.