Press release

Defra’s boost for childcare in rural Chatteris

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Defra supports rural areas through funding to help businesses develop and enhance local communities.

A Cambridgeshire nursery school has more than doubled its childcare places and created at least five new jobs after receiving £47,000 from the Rural Development Programme for England, co-funded by Defra and the EU, through the Fens Adventurers Local Action Group.

Fifty six children will now benefit from a revamped nursery school, built specifically to meet their needs, after the official opening of Kingsfield pre-school in Chatteris today.  The pre-school was already oversubscribed for its previous capacity of 26, with many local parents attracted to its all-day childcare to support their return to work.

Rural Affairs Minister, Richard Benyon said:

“People should not be prevented from returning to work by a lack of childcare, which can be even more difficult to find in rural areas than our towns and cities. I am delighted that Kingsfield can now open its doors to many more children, creating five new jobs and supporting working parents.

“We are on the side of rural people and this programme allows us to give them much needed financial support to help make rural areas even better places to live and work.”

Headteacher of Kingsfield Pre-school, Dr Susan Dowling said:

“Kingsfield Pre-School and Extended Schools recently moved into new premises partly funded by a grant from Defra and the EU.  The children are benefitting from working in the brand new, purpose built building and staff are delighted with the opportunities it provides to enhance the learning of the children.

“The additional space the new building offers has already meant that we have been able to offer places to all families who want them, considerably reducing our long waiting lists.  We have also been able to offer additional employment in the local area. We are extremely grateful to Defra and other funders for making the project possible.”

Through the Rural Development Programme, over £144 million has been spent in the last eighteen months on projects that promote local economies and give new opportunities to people in rural areas.  Between now and 2013, Defra will spend around a further £300 million on these socio-economic projects, including through Local Action Groups.

Defra’s Rural Development Programme for England supports rural areas through funding to help businesses develop and enhance local communities.  It is built around four objectives:

  1. Improving the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sector;
  2. Improving the environment and the countryside;
  3. Quality of life in rural areas and diversification of the rural economy; and
  4. Enabling Local Action Groups to promote community-led delivery of RDPE funding in rural areas.

Funding for Kingsfield pre-school was allocated through the Fens Adventurers Local Action Group.


All three and four year olds can get 15 hours of free nursery education every week.  For more information visit:

Kingsfield pre-school’s new 182m² purpose-built childcare facility is big enough to accommodate 56 children, making an extra 30 childcare places available per session.  The new facility and equipment cost a total of £136,203, of which £47,000 was met by a grant from RDPE.

Kingsfield pre-school provides all day childcare from 07.45 - 18.00 in the form of a breakfast and after school club (for primary and preschool children), two pre-school sessions, a lunch club and a holiday club which takes places in week days outside of term time from 8.00-18.00.

The Fens Adventurers Local Action Group Rural Development Programme  of £3,129,000 has to date supported over 50 projects across the Fens designated area and has almost £1 million still to award to successful applicants. For details see

If you are a farmer, grower, forester, land owner, rural business or part of a rural community you could potentially benefit from funding provided through the Rural Development Programme for England. For more information visit: