FOR many seeking suitable childcare is a financial necessity.
Many parents would prefer to spend time with their children, but often it isn't financially practical and for those who don't have families close to hand to help out, seeking suitable childcare is imperative.
News that more than 9,000 childcare places are to be created as part of a £50 million boost for early learning is bound to be a welcome relief - particularly for businesses who are already swiftly expanding.
Since opening her first Kinder Haven nursery in 2001, Danielle Dixon has opened six more sites in Bradford and Leeds.
And now she is expanding her chain after Bradford Council approved her latest plans for the seventh pub in Bradford - The Prospect Hotel in Stone Hall Road, Eccleshill - to become a Kinder Haven nursery.
The £1 million investment will create 22 to 24 new jobs and 112 childcare places.
Responding to news about the early learning funding boost, which will also see the money used to fund capital grants in order to help nurseries, pre-schools and playgroups invest in new buildings and upgrade facilities, Danielle says the announcement is 'a step in the right direction.'
There is no doubt it will be a welcomed support for working families and encourage people back into employment, reducing the cost of childcare for families.
"I'm sure the funding will not be available to everyone or enough, the grants need to be suitably means tested, workable and offered to sustainable providers, what we do not want is providers closing and becoming unsustainable due to significant under funding of the rates government pay for the free hours, which would be a waste of the tax payers money.
"Although this is good news it does not address the significant under funding of the rates the government pay providers for the free places which is nationally under funded and is set to be fixed until 2020. This in itself places additional financial pressures on providers."
Danielle says fair and consistent support of existing places to be sustainable needs to be prioritised to encourage providers to offer more places and reduce the need for grants.
She explains that Kinder Haven Ltd have been preparing in advance at many of their nurseries and self financing their own developments to ensure they are ready to support their existing families and new families so they can access the free places.
As well as creating more than 9,000 childcare places, a further £5 million will also go to organisations helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds, or with additional needs, to access early education.
But Mum-of-five Ruth Weston, who runs Bradford-based Aquabirths, questions whether it will be sufficient funding to cater for all the families requiring childcare.
"We have 6,000 births in Bradford per year and in Airedale another 2,500 to 3,000 so I am thinking if you are wanting early learning and you have these kind of birth figures how far is that money going to go?"
"I always welcome money invested in early learning but we have cut the Sure Start schemes, we have had Children's Centres and we had nursery vouchers which have been cut.
"I am wondering if it will make a right lot of difference to most people," asks Ruth.
Bradford mum, Charlotte Furness, who is also mum to five children aged one, four, six, 11 and 14, would like to see more support for parents who want to work from home.
"People need support for being parents at home, how about supporting people who work at home?" asks Charlotte, who runs a subscription box business.
Minister for the Early Years Caroline Dinenage, says: "This investment will deliver more childcare places to working parents, giving them the benefits of 30 hours free childcare while giving their children high-quality early education that sets them up for life.
"This is backed by our record £6 billion investment in childcare from September.
"While extra funding to support the 30-hour offer is of course welcome, a further 9,000 childcare places for a scheme that Government says requires 390,000 in total - and we estimate requires 500,000 - simply isn't going to address the very valid concerns that have been raised about the viability of the scheme.
"With less than half of childcare providers currently committed to delivering 30-hour places, and many of those opting into the scheme considering limiting the number of places they deliver, we know that capacity is going to be a real issue when the offer rolls out in September - and the fact that this additional money has now been found suggests the Government does too."