THOUSANDS of new child care places will be created across the North-East thanks to a lottery boost of more than a million pounds.

The New Opportunities Fund is ploughing £1,490,661 into the region's pre-school and after-school clubs.

The money will also be used to set up weekend and holiday clubs for youngsters.

Fifteen separate grants have been awarded to the region creating 2,300 new childcare places.

In total the New Opportunities Fund has awarded £10.5m to the region for child-care, creating 22,500 new places.

In Durham, 304 new places will be created from a grant of £180,800. Three new clubs will be set up and two existing clubs will be expanded.

Research by the New Opportunities Fund has revealed that 70 per cent of child care schemes set up with lottery grants would not have opened without its support