Employers For Childcare welcomes announcement of new financial support package for childcare providers

Education Minister Peter Weir has announced that the new Childcare Recovery Support Package will open for applications on 27 July. The scheme, to which £10.5 million in funding was allocated at the end of June, is designed to further assist in the recovery of the childcare sector in Northern Ireland, building capacity so that parents can access the vital childcare they need at this time.

Making this announcement, Minister Weir said: “Registered childcare providers offer safe and nurturing environments for children and we must do all we can to ensure these providers are supported to open and operate within current public health advice.”

Speaking directly to providers, the Minister thanked them for their work: “I know that we can rely on your commitment and professionalism and I want to thank all providers for the work they do to support children and parents. Your continued support at this critical time will be vital in re-opening the sector and to deal with the challenges facing our society as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.”

Who will be eligible for support?

 This scheme will help childcare providers either to re-open, or to remain open, in the period 1 July to 31 August 2020. It will apply to all forms of registered childcare – day care and school age childcare settings, playgroups and childminders.

What is the support for?

This support package will:

  • Make funding available for childcare providers to assist them to operate in line with the Executive’s childcare recovery plan and Department of Health guidance
  • Ensure as many providers as possible can open to assist parents returning to work, supporting broader economic and societal recovery
  • Allow for the continuation of the bespoke Approved Home Childcarer Scheme aimed at enabling eligible families to have their childcare needs met in their own homes.

How will funds be allocated?

Childcare settings will be eligible for different levels of flat rate funding based on the type of setting and number of registered places. This will support day care providers, stand-alone school age childcare providers and playgroups. Eligible childminders will also receive a flat rate grant.

In relation to bespoke Approved Home Childcare, arrangements established under the previous childcare
scheme will continue to enable childcare workers, who normally provide childcare to children in daycare and school age childcare facilities, to be matched to parents in order to care for children in their own homes.

How can childcare providers apply?

 The Scheme will be open for applications on Monday 27 July and be administered by Early Years – the organisation for young children, on behalf of the Department of Education.

Applications will be made through a user friendly online application system. Early Years has advised that all eligible providers should receive an individualised link to the applicable streams of funding on Monday.

 Welcome support for the sector at this time

Employers For Childcare welcomes this announcement, recognising the importance of financial support at this time as a first step in supporting the future and ongoing sustainability of our vital childcare infrastructure in Northern Ireland.

Further information

The application process is administered by Early Years – the organisation for young children. The scheme will open for applications on Monday 27 July, and eligible providers should receive a personalised link.

We anticipate further detail in relation to the scheme, including the amount of funding that will be allocated to providers, will be made available alongside the opening of the application process. Previously, the Minister confirmed that funding would be backdated to 1 July for those who are eligible.

In the meantime, today’s announcement is available on the Department of Education Website.