Cash boost for Busy Otter Playgroup

SERVICES for Ottery s under-fives have been boosted after the town s Busy Otters Playgroup was selected to benefit from an £8 million county-wide bid.

SERVICES for Ottery's under-fives have been boosted after the town's Busy Otters Playgroup was selected to benefit from an £8 million county-wide bid.

Devon County Council has picked the Yonder Street group as part of its Better Buildings for Early Years programme, and will use government funding to improve service available to youngsters.

The cash is the biggest single allocation ever made to support early years' providers.

Busy Otters has been marked as a priority premises and will now be the subject of a feasibility study to look at a range of options and solutions in regards to possible improvements and their costs.

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Aims of the grant money are to improve the quality of the learning environment in the Early Years Foundation Stage, with emphasis on play and physical activities, to ensure access to services for all children and to enable providers to increase their hours and offer a more flexible service.

Councillor John Smith, DCC's executive member for children and young people's services, said: "The plans are at an early stage -We need to ensure that the proposals are viable and can be completed within the government's time frame. Funds must be spent by 2011

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"We will be working with local schools and nurseries over the coming months to carry out the necessary research, before drawing up a final and more detailed programme for this scheme.

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