HUNDREDS of children are now benefitting from 30 hours of free childcare across Sandwell.

According to the latest figures issued by the government, the take-up in the borough is among the top 20 in the country, with more than 800 children receiving free childcare.

Councillor Simon Hackett, cabinet member for children's services was thrilled with the numbers. He said: “Staff and childcare providers in Sandwell have worked really hard in encouraging parents to sign up for free childcare.

“I'm thrilled we have achieved such a high take-up of free childcare places. These children are now benefitting from a great start to their education in one of the many providers in Sandwell committed to give 30 hours of free childcare.

“This has hopefully enabled more parents and carers to get jobs or work more hours.

“I want to encourage more parents and carers to take advantage of free childcare and ask them to get in touch with our staff to find out more.”

Previously, parents in work could sign up for 15 hours of free childcare for three and four-year-olds but from September this doubled to 30 hours-a-week.

The aim of the scheme is to help families by reducing the costs of childcare, to support parents and carers to increase the number of hours they work or encourage them into employment.

Parents and carers who want to find out more about free childcare should visit, or call 0121 569 4914.