Roscommon-Galway childcare providers can apply for support from a new national €4m fund according to Local Minister Denis Naughten.
Minister Naughten says local crèches, community services and other childcare providers can apply for funding for new places, maintenance and outdoor play areas.
Individual childcare centres can receive funding of up to €50,000 under the 2017 Early Years Capital Funding Scheme.
“My Cabinet colleague the Minister for Children Katherine Zappone has ambitious plans to change childcare throughout the country. We have to move from having one of the most expensive services in the world to having the best. However in order to achieve this goal we must continue to build up the infrastructure across all communities. This funding is another step towards achieving that goal,” added Minister Naughten.
Roscommon-Galway providers can receive up to €50,000 under this scheme for major expansions, €20,000 is available to community based services for maintenance and grants of up to €5,000 are available for play areas.
This fund is in addition to €3m announced earlier in March to support those services for children of school-going age.
“These schemes are making a difference on the ground and in the Dail legislation is progressing to allow for major changes to childcare. The laws will be passed before the Autumn. We have to reach a situation where parents are no longer forced to turn down work, training or education because of the high cost of childcare,” concluded Minister Naughten.
Over 1,000 services received capital funding under the 2016 capital scheme enabling all qualifying applications to be fully funded. All of this funding has been fully utilised and as a result a significant number of new childcare places have become available to children entering the ECCE (free pre-school) programme from January 2017. The 2017 Capital programme will build on the success of last years programme and increase both the quantity and the quality of childcare places.”
Strand 1 will accommodate applications from childcare providers who wish to create additional childcare places for children in the 0-5 age range. The maximum grant available under this strand is €50,000 and is intended to allow for the full cost of a minor expansion project or the purchase of a temporary structure.
Strand 2 will provide grants of up to a maximum of €20,000 for building improvements and maintenance and is exclusively for community (not for profit) early years services. These grants are being provided to ensure that community services continue to be fit for purpose and are energy efficient. Grants under this strand will be provided for essential repairs to the existing building and facilities, replacement of the building’s fixtures and fittings, works highlighted as a direct result of an inspection by TUSLA or other competent authorities, and for works to remove internal divides or rearrange internal spaces to improve efficiency.
Strand 3 provides funding for natural outdoor play areas, to create opportunities for children to play outdoors, in a way which promotes physical development, provides health benefits and facilitates children to learn about risk and challenges in a natural and safe environment. This initiative is targeted at smaller services that have not previously availed of such funding. Under early years regulations, services are required to provide outdoor space for children, and this measure seeks to improve the quality of these. Services can apply for grants of up to a maximum of €5,000.
Pobal will be responsible for administering the programme. Further details and information on how to make an application for funding will be available shortly on the Pobal website www.pobal.ie