£9.8 million to mitigate economic impacts of Omicron.
Childcare services hit by Omicron will be able to apply for grants of up to £4,500.
Nearly 5,800 services could benefit from the new £9.8 million Childcare Sector Omicron Impacts Fund.
Registered childminders, as well as private and third sector children’s day care services can apply from 8 March. This includes early learning and childcare settings, and school–aged childcare services.
To date, the Scottish Government has made available around £35 million of dedicated financial support to childcare services during the pandemic.
Children’s Minister Clare Haughey said:
“The childcare sector was badly hit by Omicron - many settings experienced increased levels of staff and child absence, resulting in temporary loss of income.
“These one-off grants are aimed at helping providers to mitigate some of those acute financial challenges.
“I would like to thank childcare providers for their continued efforts to provide vital, high quality services to children and families during these most difficult of times.
“In doing so, they have helped to keep the whole country functioning. I am truly grateful for their commitment and dedication.”
Jane Brumpton, Chief Executive of Early Years Scotland said:
“We welcome the launch of this new Childcare Sector Omicron Impacts Fund that can be accessed by the wide range of childcare services across Scotland that support our youngest children.
“Over the course of the pandemic, staff and managers in early learning and childcare, childminding and school-aged childcare services have worked tirelessly to offer high-quality services for children and families, despite facing ongoing financial and workforce pressures.
“This one-off grant will help to off-set some of the recent challenges experienced, and acknowledge the hard work and dedication provided by early learning and childcare staff nationally.”
More information on the Childcare Sector Omicron Impacts Fund, including how to apply for a grant.
The fund is open to childminders and private and third sector day care of children services who were registered with the Care Inspectorate on 31 December 2021.
Grant amounts vary according to the registered size of each service. Grants will range from £950 to £4,500.
There will be two separate application routes reflecting the different nature of services in the sector:
- Applications from private and third sector day care of children services, and childminding services with 11 or more registered places, will be made through the bisaccount single secure online application platform. Grant applications will be processed by local authorities.
- Childminding services with a registered capacity of between one and 10 places will apply through a separate secure online application platform. Grant applications will be processed by the Scottish Government.
Prior to the Omicron Impacts Fund, the Scottish Government has made over £25 million of funding available to support childcare providers during the pandemic. This includes the Transitional Support Fund in Autumn 2020, the Temporary Restrictions Fund in early 2021, and the Childminding Business Sustainability Fund in March 2021. More information on this targeted support is set out in the Financial Sustainability Health Check of the Childcare Sector in Scotland.