Each year my Department reviews the capital programmes as a whole and determines the priorities for Early Learning and Care and School Age Capital grants. I have allocated significant funding in recent years for this purpose and for improving the quality of infrastructure nationwide.
Capital strands are made available to achieve the strategic priorities for the year as determined by the Department, having regard to the funding available, developed using analysis of the current state of the childcare sector, learnings from previous capital programmes and feedback and input from stakeholders, including childcare providers and Pobal.
Earlier this month, I announced that €6.25m in Capital funding to be awarded to providers of Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare this summer. This funding will go towards the creation of additional childcare places as follows:
Strand A (Early Learning and Care): New places for 0-3 year olds
- €3.7m total approved (€50k max. grant.
- 87 applications approved for funding
- 1,321 new 0-3 places to be created: 205 0-1 places, 1,116 1-3 places
Strand C (School Age): New places for school age children
- €2.2m total approved (€20k max. grant)
- 118 applications approved for funding
- 2,308 new school age places to be created.
Whilst there are no other capital funding programmes available in 2019, planning for 2020's Capital offering is currently underway and the details of this will be communicated to providers in due course. The service may be able to apply for this funding next year when details are announced.
For services that may be facing any issues with financial sustainability, my Department oversees an integrated Case Management system which is administered by Pobal. This Case Management service provides non-financial assistance or support in the first instance. Financial supports are also available for community services facing certain challenges. These may be accessed through Case Management following a financial assessment.
Pobal have a dedicated Case Management team that works with local CCCs to assess services facing crisis situations. Upon reviewing the particulars of these cases, they may be able to provide appropriate non-financial assistance or support in collaboration with the local CCC. I would encourage any service currently experiencing sustainability challenges to contact their local Childcare Committee or Pobal