Thousands more low-income families will benefit from free school age childcare as part of a £15 million investment to help tackle child poverty.
Existing services for eligible families in areas of Dundee, Clackmannanshire, Glasgow and Inverclyde will be expanded, with new services set up in other communities across Scotland.
Local football clubs will be able to apply for funding totalling £2 million to support the provision of after school and holiday activities clubs, in a joint initiative with the Scottish Football Association.
Nine other projects will also receive a share of the £15 million funding to continue offering childcare services in 2023-24.
First Minister Humza Yousaf made the funding announcement as he visited Ayr United Football Academy’s holiday club.
The First Minister said: “Tackling child poverty and helping families deal with cost of living pressures are key priorities.
“Funded school age childcare benefits families in a number of ways. It supports parents and carers into work, enabling them to provide for their families and to contribute to a wellbeing economy. It also provides safe, nurturing environments for children and opportunities for them to socialise and take part in a wide range of activities.
“This £15 million investment is part of our work to build a system of year-round school age childcare – fully funded for those who need it most.
“Scotland already has the most generous childcare offer anywhere in the UK. All three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds are entitled to 1,140 hours a year of funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC). We are working with partners to progress our childcare offer even further, with plans to expand ELC to one-year-olds and more two-year-olds.”
Ayr United Football Academy Chair Allan Gunning said: “This project supports children and families by providing a wide range of activities through after school and holiday clubs.
“It is delivering positive outcomes for children including: increased access to activities and sports, improved nutritional intake, enhanced fitness and engagement in wider education. The project is also delivering positive outcomes for families including; assisting with employment, education and training, increasing community involvement, and family participation in grassroots clubs and organisations.
“We are delighted that project funding is continuing and appreciate the Scottish Government’s ongoing commitment to improving outcomes.”