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DUP Foyle MLA Gary Middleton has welcomed the announcement from Education Minister Peter Weir of a £10.5million funding package for the childcare sector.

Mr Middleton said,

“Ensuring childcare provision is absolutely vital as we seek to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. As the economy continues to re-open this is only possible for many people if they have available and safe childcare.

Childcare providers face many challenges and this £10.5million package will provide valuable assistance to the sector as they re-open. It is important that this scheme is easily accessible by providers and I particularly welcome that playgroups will be included within it.

I know the Minister will continue to work closely with the sector to assess ongoing challenges they face. However, this funding will be of benefit as we take another step forward in moving forward.

We also need to see progress with regards to the numbers being included in pods being extended or childcare setting being able to conduct their own risk assessments based on the number of and size of rooms in their facility. This is a matter which the DoH is aware of but we need to see progress to make the sector sustainable.”