Algarve already has 600 new free daycare places, but more will open

Yesterday, an extension to a day care center was inaugurated in Portimão, a new day care center was visited in Torre da Medronheira (Albufeira) and another opened in Vila Nova de Cacela

Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

The Algarve has, from July until yesterday, more than 600 free places in day care centers across the region, opened under the Happy Creche Programme, financed by the Recovery and Resilience Plan, revealed the Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security this Friday, in Portimão.

Ana Mendes Godinho inaugurated yesterday the expansion of the Lar da Criança nursery, in Quinta da Ouriva, on the outskirts of that city, a work paid for by funds from the PRR.

But the minister announced that, as of next week, there may be more nursery places to open in the Algarve region, as there are processes that are still in progress.

Margarida Flores, director of the Social Security Institute in the Algarve, revealed to Sul Informação which should open another «100 vacancies» throughout the region. But there are also new crèches being built, under the support of the PRR, in municipalities such as Lagoa, Lagos, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António, among others.

Despite the fact that, this week, there were private nurseries, especially in the districts of Aveiro and Porto, criticizing the Government for the lack of approval of new vacancies, Minister Ana Mendes Godinho made a point of highlighting the «extraordinary exercise» that the Social Security services have done to, in record time, move forward with all processes at national level.

Praising the work that is being done by Social Security in the Algarve, the official said that it was necessary to "tear down all that is bureaucracy", in order to "reach more children".

In fact, yesterday, the minister also visited the new daycare center at Torre da Medronheira (Albufeira), recently inaugurated and under the responsibility of Santa Casa da Misericórdia, while, in the afternoon, Ana Sofia Antunes, Secretary of State for Inclusion, inaugurated, in Vila Nova de Cacela (Vila Real de Santo António), a new nursery, which uses the building of the former primary school in the locality, which was closed.


The minister, with Mário Guerreiro and Isilda Gomes – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação


In Portimão, Mário Guerreiro, president of the board of directors of Lar da Criança, hosted the Minister of Solidarity.

This official recalled that «in a single municipality, south of the Tagus, we are the largest, the ones that support the most children. We’ve been at this for 82 years!”

Mário and his sister Isabel Guerreiro, president of the Municipal Assembly of Portimão and Algarve deputy elected by the PS, were, in fact, raised in Lar da Criança, where their mother was the oldest employee.

In the headquarters, in the city of Portimão, a building built in 1968, designed by the modernist architect Vicente de Castro, there are 430 children. But the institution also has a clinic with 15 specialties, all linked to children's problems.

In 2012, to support a new urban area next to Ladeira do Vau, on the outskirts of the city of Portimão, a new pole was then built, to date for 84 users in day care, to which 42 new places have now been added.

«The Council challenged us to respond to this part of the parish of Portimão, which still had no response», despite being an expanding area and with many young couples.

In 2014, even «without a cooperation agreement», he also opened «the preschool room, for another 25 children», added Mário Guerreiro.

The enlarged facilities, which officially begin operating next Monday, allow, according to the president of Lar da Criança, «to increase the response, but also to provide more pedagogical quality».


Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação


The objective now is «to expand the recreational and games space», but, according to that official, there is already a commitment from the Portimão City Council to donate a land next to the Polo da Ouriva facilities, for this purpose.

This commitment was confirmed, right there, by the president of the municipality Isilda Gomes. “We will do everything we can to ensure that children have everything they are entitled to, including recess,” she guaranteed.

Turning to the president of Lar da Criança, the mayor stressed that «Mário Guerreiro has been a true warrior in the fight for this institution».

The expansion of the facilities, added Isilda Gomes, is "an example of how the PRR is being put into practice and is bearing fruit".

The work that was inaugurated yesterday in Portimão allows for an increase in the capacity of the nursery at Polo da Ouriva by 42 more spaces, divided into three rooms, 10 of which are in the nursery, 14 in the 1-2 year old room and 18 in the 2-year old room. 3 years, in addition to the 204 already existing at the institution.

At the end of the inauguration ceremony, minister Ana Mendes Godinho reaffirmed to journalists that "an unprecedented mobilization of efforts has been made between the social sector, social security and private day care centers, to increase capacity", with there having been a «complete transformation from the point of view of simplification of processes and also a great mobilization of institutions and private crèches to adhere».

Ana Mendes Godinho admitted that the fact that daycare centers became free «also led to an increase in demand, which is natural».

Even not wanting to say how many vacancies now open across the country, saying that next week this «global balance» will be presented, the official recalled that «last year, we assumed that we would reach 40 thousand children and we reached 58 thousand», in other words, «we even exceeded what we had identified as the possible response, taking into account the installed capacity». This year, we will soon see.


Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação



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