Education Minister announces extension of Covid-19 Childcare Sustainability Fund

Education Minister Michelle McIlveen, MLA has made a welcome announcement extending critical Covid-19 Childcare Sustainability funding to cover the period 1 January to 31 March 2022.

This Fund is intended to assist the short-term viability of childcare providers and help ensure they remain sustainable in the face of recent pressures. Launching the funding, the Minister acknowledged the difficulties that childcare providers are continuing to experience as a result of the pandemic.

The Minister also expressed her thanks to everyone in the sector for their ongoing hard work and dedication: “This funding is in recognition of the vital services they provide in supporting children.”

The Minister’s full announcement is available here.

While this support is welcome, given the deep and continuing challenges facing childcare providers and families at this time we are also calling for urgent and ongoing sustainability funding for the sector, beyond the end of March, as we await the development of the new Childcare Strategy. This is needed to ensure the sector can continue to function as a critical part of our economic and social infrastructure, to mitigate against rising costs for providers, and in turn increasing fees for parents. The new Childcare Strategy must be a day one priority for a new Executive following the Assembly election in May 2022.

Covid-19 Childcare Sustainability Fund 1 January to 31 March 2022

This fund is designed to support providers with the costs of adopting additional infection prevention measures and to support their financial viability during a period with reduced demand for services.

The scheme is being administered by Early Years – the organisation for young children, on behalf of the Department of Education.

Who is eligible?

Full eligibility details and application requirements are available at:

The fund is open to registered childcare providers including childminders, daycare providers, school age childcare settings (SAC), crèches and playgroups who are operational during the period 1 January to 31 March 2022 inclusive.

We would encourage all childcare providers to review the guidance on the Early Years website which sets out:

  • Requirements for funding
  • Information that must be provided
  • Amount of funding that will be allocated to providers, based on the type and/or size of provision.

How can childcare providers apply?

Family Support NI will issue application links to eligible registered childcare providers on Monday 28 February 2022.

If you do not receive a link by Wednesday 2 March 2022, please email:

The application should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. You will have to provide:

  • Key contact details
  • Your childcare provider reference number
  • Health and Social Care Trust area
  • Bank account details
  • An electronic copy of a recent bank statement
  • Confirmation as to whether your setting it community/voluntary or a private provider.

We are encouraging childcare providers to apply for this fund as soon as possible when it opens on Monday 28 February. All applications must be submitted by Friday 15 April 2022 at 4pm.

Further information

Any queries relating to this Fund should be emailed to: