Congleton Town Council has added an information section to its website to help parents in the area navigate local services and get practical and financial support.
The town council worked with parents and childcare providers to understand the information and support needs of Congleton families, and the new section is available on the town council website via: Parents in Congleton – Congleton Town Council (congleton-tc.gov.uk)
The section includes information on local childcare options, schools, clubs and activities for children, and links to support services for families and young people.
The pages also signpost to up-to-date information on free childcare, including the increased entitlement recently announced by the government. There are three separate schemes that offer free childcare for children aged two, three and four, and the website summarises these and points to the information parents need to help them decide what to apply for.
In addition, working parents can apply for ‘tax-free childcare’, which reimburses up to £2000 a year of childcare costs (£4000 for a disabled child). Parents told a workshop at the Town Hall that many people, including employers, do not know about this option, and government figures suggest that less than a quarter of families claim the money they are entitled to under the scheme. The new website explains this and other financial support, and signposts users to the online claim forms.
Councillor Kay Wesley, Chair of the Community Committee, said: “We know a lot of people move to Congleton to start their family, or are embarking on parenthood for the first time here in our town. Parents have told us that they have mostly discovered childcare options and family support services through word-of-mouth, and the financial help available can be confusing. We felt it would be useful to bring together a hub of information as a one-stop-shop for local parents. Many thanks to the parents and professionals who contributed ideas to this, and the council officers who put the pages together.”
Anyone who has additional ideas for the web pages is invited to send them to: email@example.com.