The group, to which the Deputy refers, received a staffing grant under the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme 2000-2006 in July 2002. The grant was awarded over one year to enable the group deliver a child care service and to prepare and submit a development plan, which would show that the service has a clear focus on disadvantage.
I have been advised that the group submitted an application for further funding towards their staffing costs, which was received in my Department on 22 December 2003. The application was forwarded to Area Development Management Limited which carries out a thorough assessment of each project proposal on behalf of my Department. On completion of the assessment process, the application will be considered by the programme appraisal committee, chaired by my Department, which makes a funding recommendation to me.
I would like to advise the Deputy that support towards staffing costs under the programme is only available to community based child care projects which meet the programme criteria, show that they are addressing disadvantage and are supporting the child care needs of disadvantaged parents who are in employment, education or training.
In the interim, it would be premature of me to comment further on this application for a staffing grant application.