Is your family entitled to free childcare?
Since the scheme was launched in Gwynedd in September 2017, more than 1,400 three and four year-olds in Gwynedd have benefited, saving a total of £2.6 million in childcare costs for parents.
The Childcare Offer for Wales is a Welsh Government-funded scheme, which is administered locally by a specialist team of Gwynedd Council staff, helps parents apply and find childcare providers.
Ella Jones and Craig Hughes live in Caernarfon with their children Caio and Siwan. They currently benefit from the childcare offer for both Caio who is four and three-year-old Siwan.
Ella, who works for the Youth Justice Service, said: “Applying for the childcare offer was a really straightforward process, but it was good to know that there was help available over the phone if we needed it.
“For us as a family, the scheme has made a world of difference - childcare costs have reduced dramatically as we’re entitled to claim for both children at the moment.
“It’s improved our quality of life, and the extra money has meant we’re able to spend a little bit extra to do things as a family on the weekends.
“It’s improved our quality of life, and the extra money has meant we’re able to spend a little bit extra to do things as a family on the weekends.”
Councillor Dilwyn Morgan, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Securing good, affordable child care is one of the most important issues facing young families. This childcare scheme means parents know that they can return to work safe in the knowledge that their child is in good hands.
“Since the scheme was launched in Gwynedd, a specialist team of Council staff has been working with the childcare sector to ensure that working families make the most of the help available. So far, more than 165 Gwynedd childcare providers have signed-up to the scheme.
"This important scheme has significantly reduced the financial burden that childcare can bring and has allowed numerous parents to return to work. As a Council, we would urge any families who believe that they could benefit to get in touch with the team so that they can help them apply.”
Who can benefit from the childcare offer?
The Welsh Government-funded scheme offers 30 hours a week of early education and childcare.
It is available to working parents of three and four year-olds for up to 48 weeks of the year. To be eligible:
- your child must be aged three or four and is able to access part time Foundation Phase Education;
- you work and earn the equivalent of at least 16 hours at national living wage or national minimum wage; or are in receipt of specific caring benefits.
Information about applying for the childcare offer in Gwynedd is available on the Council website www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/30hours
Parents or child care providers in Gwynedd who require further information are welcome to contact the Gwynedd & Anglesey Childcare Unit on email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01248 352436.
1 – Staff from the Council’s Childcare Unit
2 – Craig and Ella with Siwan and Caio: the family has benefited from the scheme