Pre-school to offer free places

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A Ilkeston mum-of-six has set up a new free pre-school for disadvantaged families.

Anna Connelly-Childs already runs a childcare service called Little Sunshines. Next month she will start Little Sunshines pre-school at St Andrew’s Church in Wilmot Street with sessions on Mondays, Tuesday and Wednesdays.

She said: “I couldn’t afford childcare when I finished university so I started child-minding as a stop-gap, six years later I’m still here.”

She said the idea for the pre-school came about after the government extended childcare funding to include the 40 per cent most disadvantaged two-year-olds.

Anna said: “Ilkeston has large pockets of deprivation and poverty. As a result of this there are currently 122 children in Cotmanhay alone that are entitled to the funding for two-year-olds. However, the spaces are simply not available for them to access. Hence our new setting.

“With lots of encouragement and support from Derbyshire County Council and other local children’s professionals we are hoping to open our doors on Monday November 3.

“We aim to offer exceptionally high quality care for the children focusing on offering them experiences and opportunities in a wonderful play based setting.”

The sessions will run Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday throughout term time with the aim of making a positive difference to families in the area.

The pre-school is for children aged two to four and has space for 20 children.