Education Minister, Peter Weir today (17/02/21) announced an extension to the Covid-19 Childcare Temporary Closure fund for the period January to March 2021.

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

Peter Weir said: “Up to the end of December 2020, approximately £20.5M of emergency funding has been provided to the childcare sector to help alleviate the pressures they have faced as a result of the pandemic. I am pleased to announce an extension of the financial support available to the childcare sector during the first quarter of 2021. This phase of the Covid-19 Childcare Temporary Closure Support Fund will run from the 1 January to 31 March. It will provide a financial contribution towards the loss of income as a result of the Covid-19 related closures, and importantly, this measure will also support parents. One of the objectives of the support is that funding is available to those childcare providers that do not charge parents while their provision is temporarily closed due to Covid-19 cases.

“This is the latest of a number of financial support schemes designed and implemented specifically for the childcare sector during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is in recognition of the very important role that childcare providers continue to play in ensuring the availability of childcare provision and supporting economic recovery, while at the same time ensuring parents can access safe and responsive care. I hope to announce the availability of further funding shortly to assist with ongoing sustainability issues within the sector due to the impact of the current restrictions. I want to thank the childcare sector for its continued dedication to maintaining services during these challenging times.”

The Covid-19 Temporary Closure Fund is open from 24 February 2021 for applications from eligible daycare and school-aged childcare settings, childminders, crèches and playgroups.

A grant payment will be made according to the type and size of the provider. Eligible childcare providers will be able to apply for funding via Early Years – the Organisation for Young Children website.

Read the full announcement at www.education-ni.gov.uk/publications/ministerial-announcement-next-phase-childcare-recovery-fund-17-february-2021

Further information:

  1. 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 of either a member of staff, a childminder or a child in a setting which has resulted in the provider fully closing or in the case of a setting, a pod/group closing; 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.
  2. These are emergency measures that will apply in accordance with the Executive’s overall decisions in response to COVID-19.
  3. The Department of Education will roll out these measures as quickly as possible. Early Years will administer the scheme.
  4. Full details of the eligible providers and the available amounts, including the opportunity to apply for funding are available at www.early-years.org/csf-covid-related-closure-fund

Applications are available from 24 February 2021.