PARENTS and guardians in Denbighshire can now apply for free childcare.

The Welsh Government scheme to offer 30 hours a week of government-funded early education and childcare to eligible working parents of three and four years olds, for 48 weeks of the year, will be rolled out by Denbighshire County Council at the start of next year.

Children are eligible for the offer from the beginning of the term following their third birthday until the September following their fourth birthday.

The scheme comes into effect on January 7.

Eligible parents or guardians are those who are in the care of a qualifying child; work and earn the equivalent of at least 16 hours at national living wage or national minimum wage, or are in receipt of specific caring benefits; and live in Denbighshire.

They will be entitled to up to 20 free hours of childcare for their children during term time on top of the 10 hours already provided by the Foundation Phase. During the school holidays, when there is no early education, the offer will provide 30 hours a week of childcare for up to nine weeks.

Parents are able to choose any registered childcare setting that suits their personal and family circumstance, whether inside or outside of county, in agreement with the provider and the local authority.

Those not currently accessing the 10 hours a week free childcare provided by the Foundation Phase will be able to apply for 20 hours free childcare as part of the scheme.

All information about the childcare offer can be found on the Denbighshire County Council website.