Education Minister, Michelle McIlveen today announced an extension to the Covid-19 Childcare Temporary Closure Fund for the period 1 October to 31 December 2021.
The fund will provide continued support for childcare providers who have been forced to close temporarily due to a Covid-related incident within their provision. Applications to the Fund will open on Monday 22 November.
In addition, the Minister also announced an extension to the indemnity for childcare providers until 31 December 2021.
The Minister said: “To date, my Department has provided almost £40million to the childcare sector to help alleviate the pressures they have faced as a result of the pandemic. Today, I am pleased to announce an extension to the Covid-19 Temporary Closure Fund.
“This phase of the Fund will run from the 1 October to 31 December 2021. It will provide a financial contribution to providers as a result of the Covid-19 related closures, and importantly, this measure will continue to support parents by requiring childcare providers to suspend/return parents’ fees while their provision is temporarily closed due to Covid-19 related incidents.”
This is the latest of a number of financial support schemes from the Department of Education designed and implemented specifically for the childcare sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Continuing the Minister said: “In addition, I am announcing the extension of the Covid-19 Indemnity cover for childcare providers from 1 October to 31 December 2021.
“I have considered the current position regarding wider Covid-19 related pressures on the sector and I have decided at this point, not to extend the Childcare Sustainability Fund. This will be kept under review.”
The Covid-19 Temporary Closure Fund is open from 22 November 2021 for applications from eligible daycare and school-aged childcare settings, childminders, crèches and playgroups who have had to temporarily close their provision in line with the eligibility requirements of the fund. Eligible childcare providers will be able to apply for funding via Early Years – the Organisation for Young Children website.
Notes to editors:
1. The full announcement from Minister McIlveen is available here: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/publications/extension-covid-childcare-temporary-closure-support-fund-and-covid-19-indemnity-cover-childcare
2. Applications to the fund will open on Monday 22 November.
3. The Fund will help childcare providers, including childminders, who have re-opened following a Covid-19 temporary closure where (i) there has been a Covid positive case which has resulted in the provider either fully closing or specifically in the case of a setting, partially closing, due to closure of a pod/group; or (ii) there is an inability of a setting to comply with staff:child ratios due to staff being required to self-isolate as advised by Public Health Agency.
4. These are emergency measures that will apply in accordance with the Executive’s overall decisions in response to Covid-19.
5. The Department of Education will roll out these measures as quickly as possible. Early Years the organisation for young children will administer the scheme.
6. Full details of the eligible providers and the available amounts, including the opportunity to apply for funding are available at https://www.early-years.org/covid-related-closure-fund-phase-5. Applications to the Fund will open on Monday 22 November. Family Support NI will issue application links to registered childcare providers who have reported a closure to their Early Years Trust Teams.
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8. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office at Press.Office@education-ni.gov.uk
9. The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
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