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Thursday, 17 February, 2000, 02:39 GMT
17m for out-of-school activities
pupils working at homework club
Some of the money will be spent on homework clubs
More than 17m of National Lottery money will be used to boost out-of-school clubs and activities across the UK.

Grants totalling 8.1m from the New Opportunities Fund will create more than 21,500 new places in pre-school and after-school childcare clubs.

And out-of-school learning projects involving 517 schools are to share 9.1m.

Arts and sports

The total value of the hand-outs makes this the biggest round of grants awarded to out-of-school activities by the fund, which was set up in 1998 to distribute lottery money to health, education and environment projects.

The grants bring the total awarded from the fund to out-of-school hours learning to more than 27.3m. The total awarded to out-of-school hours childcare projects is now more than 17.7m.

The largest single childcare allocation announced on Thursday was a 673,819 grant to Derbyshire County Council.

The council is to use the money to create more than 1,600 new places in facilities including after-school homework clubs and holiday activity courses. The project will create 20 new childcare clubs, and will expand another 20.

Almost 200,000 is to go to the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds to develop and arts and sports programme for 20 inner city schools.

'Significant impact'

Scotland will receive its first grant from the fund's out-of-school hours learning programme.

It is getting a 3.5m share of the money to enable 180 schools to develop after-school activities and summer holiday clubs.

Baroness Pitkeathley, chair of the New Opportunities Fund, said: "The substantial grant announcements we are making today, both to childcare and learning projects, will make a significant impact on the lives of parents and young people, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

"I have been impressed by the innovative approach many of these out-of-school learning projects are taking to develop the interest, talents and self-esteem of young people."

See also:

14 Feb 00 | Northern Ireland
Schools cash in on lottery grants
16 Dec 99 | Education
Cash boost for out-of-school learning
10 Dec 99 | Scotland
Funding boost for childcare
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