Wiltshire Council is encouraging parents with children who were two years old on or before the 31 December 2020 to apply for 15 hours free childcare.
The childcare, known as Better 2gether Funding, is for parents who are on Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, those that have a low income of less than £16,190 before tax and are on tax credits or £15,400 if they are on Universal Credit, and those with a child who have a statutory statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan is also eligible.
The funding is for up to 15 hours childcare a week (over 38 weeks a year), and can be used at local nurseries, pre-schools and childminders. All childcare is provided in COVID-19 secure settings and have preventative measures in place. It may also be possible to stretch the free hours over 50 weeks of the year. Parents do not have to take up the full 15 hours straightaway, they can just claim for a couple of sessions a week.
Research has shown that good quality early education is good for children and can:
- Improve children’s development, for example their language skills
- Help them learn to socialise with other children and make friends
- Help them begin to get ready for school
- Give them access to exciting places to play and new activities including messy play that you might not want to do at home
Childcare is also good for parents and carers. It can:
- Give them more time to spend with your other children
- Enable them to go back to work or take up a college course
- Give them an opportunity to do the shopping and housework
- Give them some ‘Me Time’ to relax or go to an exercise class
Lucy Townsend, Corporate Director for People at Wiltshire Council, said, “We would encourage eligible parents to apply for the Better 2gether childcare funding
“Parents can apply for the 15 hours a week free childcare as research has shown that that good quality early education is good for children. It can also be good for parents, giving them a break and the time to do the things they need to do.
“All childcare is provided by registered professionals who are fully trained in looking after children, have been police checked and who currently hold either a good or outstanding Ofsted grading.”
You may be eligible for funding if:
- You get Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments.
- You claim tax credits, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
- You claim DLA for your two-year-old or have an eligible aged child with an EHCP
- You foster a two-year-old
- Your two-year-old was adopted from local authority care or they have left care under a special guardianship order or child arrangements order
Parents can visit the Wiltshire Council website for more details of who is eligible for funding and can apply online at Wiltshire.gov.uk – search for Early Years and Childcare or ask your health visitor or local children’s centre.
To find eligible childcare providers in area, please use our online childcare directory. (You will need to select ‘two-year-old funding’ at the bottom of the search page