Thousands of low-income families will receive access to free school-age childcare as part of the Scottish Government’s £15 million investment plan to help tackle child poverty.

The additional support was announced by First Minister, Humza Yousaf, to see the out of school care being provided by Ayr United Football Academy’s holiday club.

As part of the investment existing services in Dundee, Clackmannanshire, Glasgow and Inverclyde will be expanded and new services set up in other communities across Scotland.

"Tackling child poverty and helping families deal with cost of living pressures are key priorities,” said the First Minister.

“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.”

Funded school age childcare in Scotland support families on the lowest incomes, including six categories identified within the Scottish Government’s Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan: lone parent families, minority ethnic families, families with a disabled adult or child, families with a younger mother (under 25), families with a child under one, and larger families.

A range of organisations who provide out of school care will be able to apply for funding. Local football clubs will be able to access £2, 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.

“Scotland already has the most generous childcare offer anywhere in the UK,” continued Yousaf. “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.”

Welcoming the news, Ayr United Football Academy Chair Allan Gunning said: "This project 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.”