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STAFF and children at a primary school near Ilminster are celebrating after it was revealed they would receive a large chunk of a new £1.5 million grant.

Somerset County Council has agreed to fund the relocation of the Neroche Pre-School to the school site, a project expected to cost £363,123.

The money will be used to purchase a new modular building to be located at front of school site.

This will create a new nursery provision for three and four year old children, and also fund the provision of 30 new 30-hour places for the community.

Connel Boyle, headteacher at Neroche Primary School, said: “This news is simply fantastic for Ilminster and the village communities we serve.

"For working parents, to be able to access 30 hours free childcare for three and four year olds with a qualified teacher at our school will be so beneficial for our community.”

“We have planned for five years for this project and for it to be a reality now is so exciting.”

Claire Bowditch, early years leader for Neroche School, said: “I cannot wait for the opportunity for Neroche School to build our new nursery.

“The learning opportunities this will allow us to provide for our community’s youngest children will be amazing.”

The facility at Neroche Primary School is one of six nurseries and pre-schools in Somerset to successfully bid for a combined £1.5million from the Department for Education as part of the Government’s 30 hours free childcare offer.

A spokesman for SCC said nearly 200 families in the county are expected to benefit from the money. SCC is also supporting the projects with nearly £350,000 of capital funds.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, cabinet member for children and families, said: “Many hardworking families find that they struggle with the cost of childcare.

“The funding we have secured from the Government will ensure that nearly 200 new early years spaces become available, enabling nurseries to offer the new 30 hours of funded childcare to those families.

“I’m pleased that, thanks to our partnership working with nurseries and pre-schools across the county, we are able to help working parents. I am delighted that all six of the bids we put in have been successful.”

The other five successful nurseries and pre-schools are Rockwell Green Primary School in Wellington, a new nursery at Wyevale Garden Centre in Norton Fitzwarren, Chuggers Day Nursery and Pre-School in Taunton, The Olive Tree Nursery in Bridgwater and The Paddocks Nursery and Pre-School in Wiveliscombe.