Education Minister, Michelle McIlveen today announced an extension to the Covid-19 Childcare Temporary Closure Fund for the period 1 January to 31 March 2022.

The fund will provide continued support for childcare providers who have been forced to close temporarily due to a Covid-19 related incident within their provision.

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 a further extension to the Covid-19 Temporary Closure Fund. 

“I am aware of the ongoing challenges facing providers in the childcare sector and I want to thank them for their ongoing commitment to providing these vital services.

“This phase of the Fund will run from the 1 January to 31 March 2022. It will provide a financial contribution to providers as a result of the Covid-19 related closures, and importantly, will continue to support parents, and carers by requiring childcare providers to suspend/return their 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: “I have also committed to keeping the need for a further phase of sustainability funding under review. Scoping work on this is underway and my officials are meeting with key childcare stakeholders to assess the current situation and consider an appropriate response.”

The Covid-19 Temporary Closure Fund is open from 31 January 2022 for applications from eligible day care 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 the Early Years website.