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Access to affordable, quality childcare benefits all of the family – Gildernew

29 November, 2010

Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA celebrated the work of the Carrowdore Early Years Childcare Centre at a recent event to launch their extended childcare service.

The Minister congratulated the Childcare Centre on their new Breakfast and After-schools Clubs, which have been established with support from the Departments Rural Childcare Programme.

Recognising the achievements of the Centre the Minister said: “It has taken a lot of hard work and commitment from the staff and voluntary Directors at Carrowdore to make this centre such a success. The childcare service has evolved from its origins as a small playgroup to now providing a complete day-care service for rural working parents. It is an inspiring example of a rural childcare facility that is determined to meet the changing needs of families in the local community.

“As a rural working mother myself I know that it is essential for working parents, to find somewhere which will care for their children in a stimulating and safe environment.”

She added: “Rural childcare provision is faced with unique challenges such as small, scattered populations, long distances to travel and isolation. These challenges make childcare services more difficult to deliver and hinder access to these services for parents.

“Ensuring that families have access to affordable, quality childcare benefits all of the family. It helps children integrate and develop at an early age and it leads to increased choice for parents from rural communities. It also allows rural women, who are traditionally restricted as a result of family responsibilities, to better balance the demands of a work and family life.”

In conclusion the Minister said: “Carrowdore is a great example of what rural childcare in action can achieve. Rural childcare provision makes a significant contribution to local communities, creates employment and boosts the rural economy. I am very proud of our rural childcare achievements to date with 270 new child care places created already.

“I am also bringing forward a Rural White paper that will engage Executive colleagues’ and their respective departments to play their part in tackling the wider issue of rural poverty and social exclusion.”

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