CRITICAL workers across North Yorkshire are being helped with a series of hubs in schools and nurseries providing childcare throughout bank holidays, weekends and when there is no other help available.

The centres are being set up close to hospitals through the County Council offering care for pre-school and school-aged children of critical workers from Good Friday.

The hubs will run from 7.45am to 5.45pm and will continue to operate as long as they are needed throughout the pandemic.

The majority of schools in North Yorkshire are already staying open over the Easter holidays for children of keyworkers, but the hubs will fill in gaps in childcare across the county.

The early years hubs for children aged up to four will begin from Good Friday and will operate seven days a week with a maximum of ten places for pre-school children and twenty older children in each one and there will be qualified early years professionals on site.

The school hubs will run on weekends and bank holidays only, as there is expected to be sufficient cover provided by North Yorkshire schools being open during the working week.

The hubs include bases at Mill Hill Primary School, Northallerton and Hutton Rudby Primary School in the Hambleton area. In Richmondshire they'll be at Richmond Methodist Primary School and Risedale Community College, Catterick. in Harrogate, Grove Road and Ripon, Moorside Primary.

Corporate Director of Children and Young People’s Service, Stuart Carlton, said: "We are working with schools and early years providers to put childcare in place for those critical workers who need it.

"The early years hubs will operate seven days a week and will try to fill a gap in childcare provision which has emerged for critical workers and the schools hubs will operate during weekends and bank holidays.

"It has been a huge task to organise these across the county at such short notice and we would like to thank our partners in schools and the wider schools community for their work. Together we have worked to make sure the hubs will provide safe, welcoming environments for children.

"We are hugely grateful for the hard work, dedication and flexibility of all the school staff involved in making sure this happens and would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to them."

Parents are being asked to pre-book places so the authority can find out if there is a larger demand than the council expects for places for the children of critical workers.

For children going to school throughout the Easter holidays, transport is being continued. Free school meals will also continue for families in receipt of them, although schools are providing different schemes depending on what the need is and what resources they have.

Key workers who still have problems contact the council County on