Lottery boost for Suffolk children

YOUNGSTERS across the county are set to benefit from hundreds of thousands of pounds being ploughed into improving childcare.Just days after Chancellor Gordon Brown revealed he was to ease the cost of child care, grants have been awarded to help build new nurseries.

YOUNGSTERS across the county are set to benefit from hundreds of thousands of pounds being ploughed into improving childcare.

Just days after Chancellor Gordon Brown revealed he was to ease the cost of child care, grants have been awarded to help build new nurseries.

Ipswich and district council for voluntary service (ICVS) has been awarded £325,000 to build a 70 place nursery in the town.

It is hoped that the two-storey nursery will be opened in the grounds of Whitton Sports Centre by next spring.

As well as the usual nursery services for 0-5 year olds there is also an aim to set up a casual drop in group including parents support groups giving advice on a range of things from challenging behaviour to domestic violence to debt management.

Health visitors, community dieticians will be just some of the other services on offer.

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ICVS is managing the project in conjunction with Ipswich Borough Council and Sure Start but project leader Kevin Garrod said that eventually it was hoped that it could be run by the community.

He said that families could expect to pay around £82.50 a week for their child's care.

Another £180,000 has been given to the Rainbow Day Nursery to go towards building a nursery in the grounds of a Lowestoft school.

The grant money comes from a £1.3 million boost being ploughed into East Anglia from the New Opportunities Fund which is part of the National Lottery.

Margaret Cooney, the Fund's East of England regional manager said: "Grants such as these are paving the way for the creation of much needed new childcare places in the East, directly benefiting children and their families."

Elsewhere in the county £25,000 has been given to the Landguard Conservation Trust in Felixstowe to improve the Bird Observatory Interpretative Centre which they run.

The project includes redecorating the centre, creating display boards to show the history of the site as well as bird breeding and migration information.

A reference library will be set up and computers installed that will feature content researched, designed and written by young people involved.

Mike Swindells from the Trust said: "This means what would normally have taken us around four or five years we can compete within a year.

"It means a lot to us and I hope it means a lot to the teenagers in Felixstowe who don't always have an outlet for their interests."

In Leiston a further £25,000 has been given to carry out and record an archaeological excavation at Leiston Abbey.

The money comes from the Young Roots programme which gives money to projects involving young people aged 13-20.

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