2018 Childcare Capital Programme to top €6.8m ‘Play areas, extra spaces and maintenance to be supported’ Applications to open in February

Thursday 21st December, 2017

Outdoor play areas, extra spaces and essential maintenance are to be supported by €6.8m in capital funding for childcare services in 2018, according to Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone.
The Minister is also confirming that applications will open in February to ensure children of all ages will benefit as soon as possible.

In order to streamline the process applications will be through an online system using a single form.

Early Years
•    Strand 1:     New or expanding services     €3.86m
•    Strand 2:     Essential maintenance            €1m
•    Strand 3:    Natural outdoor play area        €1m

€5.86m total Early Years

School Age
•    Strand 4:    New or expanding services    €0.75m
•    Strand 5:    Essential maintenance           €0.25m

€1m total School Age

For the first time, in 2018, Early Years and School Age Childcare Capital programmes will run concurrently. Services will be able to apply online using a single application form through the Programmes Implementation Platform (PIP). The application window will close in March 2018.

Minster Zappone said:
“I am happy to have secured €6.86m capital funding for the expansion and improvement of early years and school age childcare services in Ireland. Last year, my Department’s capital programmes provided 649 individual grants to early years providers, resulting in the creation of 1,624 ECCE places and 594 places for 0-3 year olds, as well as reaching 488 school age providers, creating 5,000 new school age childcare places.

“This year’s Capital programmes seek to build on that good work, as well as providing an earlier timeline for delivery than previous years, in the hope that services can begin their capital works during the summer months. The €6.86m set aside for capital reflects my on-going commitment to developing quality, affordable childcare in Ireland, and assisting providers in delivering world class services to parents and children.

“In addition to funding, the Bill that will form the backbone of our radical new approach will make its way through the Oireachtas in 2018, while work on a top class IT system also continues.

“Changing one of the world’s most expensive childcare systems in the world into the best is an ambitious goal but one which we will continue to work towards achieving in the next 12-months.”

Timeline for Capital 2018

Actions Key Dates*
Application Guidelines January 2018
Go live date for applications February 2018
Closing date for applications March 2018
Appraisals March-April 2018
Decisions May 2018
Notification of Outcomes Issued by end of May 2018

                                                                                                                                                    *note: exact dates to follow in January 2018

Details of funding strands available: 

Strand 1 will accommodate applications from early years providers who wish to create additional childcare places for children in the 0-5 age range, with particular emphasis on 0-3 places. 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 to meet local demand.

Strand 2 will provide grants of up to a maximum of €20,000 for building improvements and maintenance and is exclusively for community 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, works to remove internal divides or rearrange internal spaces to improve efficiency, and/or equipment to improve the quality of service provided.

Strand 3 will provide funding for the creation of 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 early years services of 0-50 children capacity 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 for small to medium sized services. Services can apply for grants of up to a maximum of €7,000.

Strand 4 will provide funding for school age childcare providers who wish to create additional childcare places through expansion, relocation or the establishment of a new facility to meet demand. The maximum grant available under this strand is €20,000.

Strand 5 will provide grants of up to a maximum of €5,000 for building improvements and maintenance and is exclusively for community school age services. This strand of funding will provide for improvements in facilities and or to meet safety and security requirements, essential building repairs and equipment to improve quality of the service provided.

Providers are advised that additional information will be available on PIP today (Wednesday 20th December 2017). Full guidelines and details of the programmes, as well as an exact timetable for applications, appraisals and approvals, will follow in January 2018. Providers are encouraged to contact their local City / County Childcare Committees with any questions they may have in the meantime.

For more information please see the DCYA website.