A key priority for me as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is to support the early learning and care and school age childcare sector through the provision of capital funding, where it is most needed.
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 for the year ahead. 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.
As you may be aware, the Capital programmes are necessarily a budget limited exercise. Therefore, the maximum grant size available under each of these strands has been determined in consideration of both optimising what can be delivered by each individual grant, as well as maximising the amount of providers and children that will ultimately benefit from the funding. The maximum grants available under this year's capital programmes will not be subject to change.
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 eligible to apply for this funding next year when details are announced.