Assembly Member Ken Skates has visited a nursery to hear how a life-changing Welsh Government programme is helping parents in his constituency.
Mr Skates, AM for Clwyd South, called into Overton Playcentre on Friday (January 31) to chat to manager Rachel Harris and staff about its ongoing renovation and how the Welsh Government’s childcare scheme is helping to give local children the best start possible.
Childcare providers across Wrexham county borough have benefited from the programme since 2018. It provides 30 hours of early education and childcare to working parents of children aged three and four for 48 weeks of the year – the most generous childcare package anywhere in the UK.
The offer was a key pledge in Welsh Labour’s manifesto ahead of the 2016 Assembly election.
Rachel Harris, manager of Overton Playcentre, previously described the programme as ‘life-changing’ for local families.
Mr Skates said: “When the Welsh Government implements policies like this we always believe they will help those who most need it, but it’s amazing when I visit places like this to see and hear first-hand just what a difference they are making to people’s lives.
“This programme is reducing the strain on family income and helping ensure childcare is not a barrier to them taking up employment or increasing their hours. Rachel and her team do a wonderful job and every time I’ve been to Overton I see just how happy the children are. It was fantastic to hear what a positive impact this scheme has had in such a short space of time.”
Overton Playcentre is a parent-led charity which has been running for more than 50 years. It relies on volunteers to raise nearly £7,000 a year to cover running costs but was awarded £8,200 in National Lottery Awards for All funding in 2018 to develop an outdoor learning area.
Last year a Childcare Offer Small Capital Grant from the Welsh Government was used to redecorate and create access to the toilets from the outdoor learning area.
Mr Skates said: “I could already see how much progress has been made since my last visit and I know Rachel has big plans for the future. I look forward to helping however I can.”