A £1.6 million project to boost early years education on the North Yorkshire Coast has been announced by the Government.

The Department for Education programme will support young people and their families living on the coast with practical help to boost early learning at home and to improve access to extra-curricular activities.

It will include a £800,000 scheme to help young children needing extra help in developing their reading, writing and language skills, through new community workshops with early years experts.

The project will also fund the creation of 40 speech and language “champions” to work with nurseries and preschools in the area, helping them identify earlier when children might need better support and to make sure they arrive at school ready to learn. More than 20 primary schools will also have help in improving pupils’ speech, language and communications skills. The support could extend to the provision on an onsite therapist in some cases.

Alongside this, a second scheme also worth £800,000 will launch in September to improve access to sports, arts and cultural activities for more than 3,500 young people aged five to 18 in Scarborough, Whitby and Filey.

The funding was announced when Education Secretary Damian Hinds visited Scarborough this week. He said: “The Opportunity Area programme is about making sure we create the right conditions to broaden the horizons of young people from disadvantaged areas and give them the best start in life.”

“The funding announced today will help to support parents on the North Yorkshire Coast with their child’s early language development and also help young people access extra-curricular activities that build the resilience and character they need to fulfil their ambitions, whatever they may be.

The Education Secretary launched the projects, all part of the government’s £72 million Opportunity Area programme – of which North Yorkshire Coast is one of 12 – during a visit to Coventry University Scarborough Campus where he met with members of the North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area Partnership Board and young carers who will benefit from the investment.

Chair of the North Yorkshire Coast partnership board, Sir Martin Narey, said the board was determined to ensure children living along the coast were able to achieve their potential.: "I know that improving social mobility has long been a priority for this Education Secretary, and I want him to see the encouraging progress we are making."