private investment of about €175,000. This new centre is the 136th childcare centre in Malta and Gozo.
The centre will accommodate 34 children, including newly-born children. This is the fifth such centre opened by Stepping Stones, the other four centres being located in Fgura, Birkirkara, Marsascala and Qawra and these in total employ 43 people.
The Minister for Education, Evarist Bartolo said that in free childcare between April 2014 and December of last year, the Government has invested €72 million in childcare centres.
He said that besides helping parents to continue their studies and to continue working, such centres also help children because from a very young age the children are cared for, loved, appreciated and their questions answered.
The Minister said over 5,000 children make use of this service. He said that Government financial support has encouraged private investment and more than 100 childcare centres are private.
Minister Bartolo said the few centres were in danger of closure because of difficulties but now there are 136 centres.
Over the last five years more than 16,000 children have benefited from free childcare.