A number of Inishowen childcare providers are set to benefit from grants totalling almost 70,000 euro as part of national investment for major childcare expansion.
The grants are part of €6.5m in capital funding allocated through the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to 1,006 pre-school providers nationwide - both community/not-for-profit and private providers – who want to expand their services to cater for more children from September 2016.
Grants of up to €10,000 per provider are being provided and may be used to cover the following: build / fit out / refurbishment of an additional room /extension; minor building alterations; and costs for additional play equipment (to a maximum of €5,000) to facilitate an increase in childcare places.
The childcare providers in Inishowen include those in Carndonagh, Clonmany, Bocan, Muff and Desertegney and a full list is provided at www.pobal.ie. All submitted applications were considered in order to find those that most closely and completely met the criteria and objectives of the programme.
The news of the funding was widely welcomed, with Minister Joe McHugh pointing out how an extra 60,000 children nationally will now be able to avail of free services starting in September, “as this Government continues with the aim of ensuring every child will be able to access free pre-school from the age of three until they start school.”
Minister Katherine Zappone, who announced the funding, said: “The extension of the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) pre-school scheme so that every child will be able to access free pre-school from the age of three until they start school (entering pre-school in the September, January or April after they turn three) is a welcome development for children, parents and Early Years providers.” She added that children will now benefit from an average of 61 weeks of the scheme, up from 38 weeks. It is not a ‘second’ pre-school year, but on average, a 60% increase, ensuring all children from the age of three have access to early years care and education until they start school.