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New proposals to assist sustainability of the childcare sector have been announced today.

Education Minister, Peter Weir outlined the plans following the allocation of £8.5 million funding in October for ongoing recovery and sustainability within the childcare sector.

The Childcare Sustainability Support Fund developed for the period 1 September to 31 December, will:

  • help childcare providers with the additional costs of operating within Covid-19 guidance; and
  • provide financial support to childcare providers operating with reduced demand for services.

The Fund is open for applications on Friday 4 December from daycare and school-aged childcare settings, childminders, eligible playgroups and crèches. A grant payment will be made according to the type and size of the provider. Eligible childcare providers will shortly receive an email inviting them to apply.

Peter Weir said: “Registered childcare providers offer safe and nurturing environments for children and it is important they remain open. As part of ongoing childcare recovery, the Childcare Sustainability Support Fund will provide short-term support for the sector to assist their ongoing sustainability and recovery during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is essential that we continue to work together across the education and health sectors to ensure the availability of childcare provision and to support the economy, while at the same time ensuring parents can access safe and responsive care.

“I want to thank registered childcare providers for the essential work they do. Their hard work on the ground and determination to maintain services at this critical time is vital in helping us deal with the ongoing challenges facing society as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. It is a testament to their commitment that children have been able to continue to access positive developmental experiences in their childcare provision, and parents have been able to continue to work and provide important services for society.”

The Minister said his officials are currently working on a further funding scheme which will address temporary closures during the period September to December which will be announced in due course.