€1500 lure to induce Almachar baby boom

DESPITE the withdrawal of the state-funded ‘Baby-Cheque’ this year, parents of newborns in Almachar will receive a €1,500 cheque during 2011. This is through an initiative by the Town Hall which hope to boost the birth-rate in the town of nearly 2,000 residents, according to Mayor Jose Gamuz (IU).

The €1,500 will be given in monthly vouchers of €50 which can be redeemed during the infant’s first year of life at local shops for child related necessities.

The Town Hall will also cover the costs of all vaccines for meningitis and chicken pox and will give a two-week employment contract to one of the parents if they are unemployed.

“These benefits are being granted as part of an initiative to help families during the crisis to alleviate the added costs of a newborn,” the mayor said. 

In Almachar there are on average between 10 and 15 births per year, official records show. Based on these figures the Town Hall could expect to pay out between €15,000 and €22,500 this year to families with newborns.

“With a budget of €3 million, this amount is nothing, but does mean a lot to these families and will help them ease some of the baby expenses, which can amount to €6,000 per year,” added Gamez.

In addition, the mayor has insisted that the Town Hall offers free childcare for all the children in the village and a €3,000 grant to AMPA Municipal schools to help buy books.

During 2011, Almachar will be offering many other services to its residents. They will be maintaining the 50 percent discount for building permits for first-time home. They will be offering a podiatry – foot and ankle – service at €10 per session.

For €15 residents can get ‘Social WiFi’, while there is free WiFi in all public spaces.

All residents registered in Almachar can use the various sports facilities in the municipality – including the covered pavilion, sauna, gym, paddle tennis, rock climbing, and football field – for just €1.

By Nicole Hallett

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