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Funding of over €485,000 for pre-school providers based outside the city area of County Cork has been welcomed by Cork East Fine Gael TD and Minister of State at the Department of Justice, David Stanton.

“I understand that a total of 83 pre-schools in the county area outside of Cork City will benefit from today’s announcement. Grants of up to €10,000 are being provided to any successful community/not-for-profit and private providers who are looking to expand their services.

“Grants being awarded will be used by pre-school providers in Cork County to build/fit out/refurbish additional rooms or an extension, minor building alterations or of allow for the purchase of additional play equipment. This is good news for parents in my constituency of Cork East as it will allow local pre-school providers to cater for the intake of additional children who want places.

This funding forms part of a €6.5 million investment by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in pre-school services nationwide. It to allow pre-schools to cater for additional places for children due to the extension of the Early Childcare and Education (ECCE) scheme which will mean that 60,000 extra pre-school places will be available next year.

The changes introduced in Budget 2016 to extend the scheme will also increase the length of time young children will have in free pre-school. Young children should now benefit from an average of 61 weeks of free pre-school compared to the 38 weeks before the changes.

“I am very pleased that so many pre-school providers in the County Cork area were successful in their capital funding applications. It is testament to the high quality of childcare in East Cork and the rest of the county that providers here secured such a large proportion of the national budget.