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Education Minister, Michelle McIlveen today announced a further extension to two Covid-19 childcare support funds.

This includes a third phase of the Childcare Sustainability Fund for the period 1 April to 30 June 2021 and the Childcare Covid-19 Temporary Closure Fund from 1 April to 30 September 2021.

The Minister said: “I am pleased to announce a further extension of the financial support available to the childcare sector as we continue to emerge from the pandemic. These schemes will supplement approximately £30m of emergency funding which has already been provided to the childcare sector up to March 2021.

“The Covid-19 Childcare Sustainability Fund will provide vital financial support for eligible registered childcare providers who are continuing to incur additional costs while operating within Covid-19 guidance and a reduced demand for services during this recovery phase.

“While the closure of childcare providers remains very low, the Childcare Covid-19 Temporary Closure Fund will minimise the financial impact on childcare providers who have been forced to temporarily suspend their services due to a Covid related incident within their provision.”

The Temporary Closure Fund will also support parents, as funding is only available to those childcare providers that do not charge parents while their provision is temporarily suspended due to Covid-19 cases.

The Minister concluded: “The continuation of this funding during these final stages of recovery and easing of restrictions, recognises the vital role that childcare providers play in supporting the economy and supporting families. I want to thank the childcare sector for its continued dedication to maintaining services during these challenging times.”

The two extended Covid-19 support funds open from 18 June 2021 for applications from eligible daycare, school-aged childcare settings, childminders, crèches and playgroups. Eligible childcare providers will be able to apply for funding via Early Years – the organisation for young children website.