Work is underway on a new centre in Hartlepool to give help and support parents and carers of youngsters up to the age of 11.

The £640,000 Early Years Centre is being built at St John Vianney Primary School and will include a pre-school nursery, pre and after-school childcare, a playgroup and creche.

There will also be facilities for youngsters to study after school and a training base to help people gain childcare and other qualifications.

The centre will be available for a wide range of other community uses, and will also be a local base for the Sure Start North Scheme, which offers support to parents with toddlers in North Hartlepool.

The project has been funded by the North Hartlepool Single Regeneration Budget Partnership, which has given £472,000, as well as Sure Start North and the Church Diocese, which have given £83,000 each.

Councillor Denis (CORRECT) Waller, chair of the North Hartlepool Partnership, said: "Young people are our citizens of the future, so it's important that we keep investing in them.

"This excellent centre will offer important support for youngsters and their parents or carers during some of the children's most formative years, and the Partnership is very pleased to be a major funder of the project.