FUNDING of over £4m has been announced today by the Welsh Government to support childcare providers affected by COVID-19.

The Childcare Provider Grant will offer dedicated funding for the childcare sector to help ensure more providers re-open as the schools return in September.

Since 22 June, childcare providers have been able to care for more children and increase their operations or re-open fully.

The grant is available to childcare settings who have been unable to access other business support schemes offered by the UK and Welsh Governments and most providers will be eligible for a one-off grant of £2,500 to meet costs such as rent, utilities and unmet wages.

It also aims to help make the childcare sector more resilient for the future by requiring settings to register as a company limited by guarantee, a private limited company, a Community Interest Company or a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

Applications for the scheme will open on 24 August and the scheme will close on 31 October 2020.

Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Julie Morgan, said:

“Many of our childcare providers have faced significant challenges as a consequence of coronavirus. To control the spread of the virus it was necessary to keep the numbers of children in attendance low but we recognise that this came at a cost.

“I am acutely aware of the challenges the childcare sector has faced and I want to thank all childcare providers for their perseverance and professionalism during these difficult times. Welsh Government recognises the important role childcare plays as part of the foundational economy and we are determined to support the sector as the economy reopens.

“Ensuring the availability of formal childcare places is instrumental to our recovery and I am pleased we are able to offer this vital lifeline to those in the sector who have fallen through the other support measures.

“I hope this announcement will help parents and providers to plan, with more certainty, for the future.”

Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, added:

“I’m delighted to offer this assistance to childcare providers and want to thank them for continuing to care for the children of key workers through such difficult times. The service you provide to your communities is greatly valued and will be an essential part of Wales’ recovery as schools reopen, and parents return to work.

“Childcare is a huge issue. More than 95% of the early years workforce are women, while access to formal childcare is vital for working parents.”

Earlier this month, it was announced that the Welsh Government’s Childcare Offer of 30 hours of funded childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds will resume alongside the summer school term.

The Offer had been paused in April to allow funds to be focussed on providing care for pre-school aged children of critical workers.

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