Over the weekend our CEO Jacqueline O’Loughlin, has been in consistent contact with various Departments of the NI Executive and can confirm that for now, School Age Childcare services are advised to remain open and continue a service to parents as necessary.

The current guidance from the Minister of Health for the Childcare Sector is NOT to close either childcare facilities or childminding services in Northern Ireland at this moment. This situation may change – potentially quite quickly.  Should Northern Ireland have to move into a lockdown scenario, your services may become even more vital in ensuring that the systems for delivering society’s basic needs remain available.  Your service may, at that point be called upon to care for the children of Key Worker ONLY.  But that time has not yet come.

Until we have further direction, School Age Childcare services can and should continue to provide their services as best they can.

We acknowledge that we are operating in unprecedented times and that your continued service may incur negative financial consequences, we would like to assure you that we are working closely with the government to find a solution to this.

We would also like to remind you that it is vital that you follow the PHA Guidelines at www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus particularly in relation to hand washing, preventing the spread of infection and social distancing where possible.

We continue to receive numerous email and telephone requests for help and guidance. We are working through those as best we can and will respond just as soon as we are able to do so. We’re grateful for your continued patience and would ask that you direct any additional queries to frances.walsh@playboard.co.uk

We will issue further updates as we have them.