Fund will deliver accessible and affordable childcare to support families on low incomes.
Children and families will benefit from £3 million in funding to deliver community-based out-of-school care, Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said.
The announcement comes ahead of a Parliamentary statement this week on tackling child poverty.The new Access to Childcare Fund 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 holiday 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. 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.
Ms 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.”
Every Child, Every Chance’, the Scottish Government’s first Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan published last year, sets out concrete actions by 2022 to make progress on our ambitions. The Plan was backed by a £50 million Tackling Child Poverty Fund. The Communities Secretary will update parliament and publish a first year progress report on the plan on Wednesday (26 June)
Actions across Government helping to tackle child poverty include our employment support service Fair Start Scotland and the introduction of the new Best Start Grant, which provides support for families on low incomes in the early years of their children’s lives.
The Scottish Government has also increased the value of the School Clothing Grant, almost doubled the funding of Early Learning and Childcare and delivered 50,000 warm and affordable homes.
The Scottish Government will publish a draft framework on Out-of-School Care for consultation at the end of the summer.