Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’ Gorman, has today announced a €10m Capital Grant for the Early Learning and Childcare Sector.
The Building Blocks – Improvement Grant is part of a wider Building Blocks Capital Programme for Early Learning and Childcare under the National Development Plan.
Grants will range from €35,000 to €75,000 across two separate strands: Green Energy and Retrofit.
The Green Energy Strand/Strand A will support the Climate Action Agenda and the Programme for Government, which aim to transition to a carbon-neutral economy by the end of 2050 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030.
Under the Green Energy strand, grants will be provided for improvements to increase energy efficiency, utilising renewables where feasible, such as the installation of solar panels and heat pumps, insulation and water conservation measures.
The Retrofit Strand/Strand B will provide grants to existing services in need of upgrading. Eligible works include kitchen works and refurbishment, upgrading of sanitary facilities for children and adults, roof repairs/replacement, and upgrading of flooring.
Applications from eligible services will be accepted in Q4 2022 and successful applicants will be notified in early 2023.
Early Learning and Care Services and School Age Childcare Services who are in contract for NCS or ECCE 2022/2023 with at least one child registered are eligible to apply. Successful applicants must be in contact with Core Funding before any funding is released
Welcoming the announcement, Minister O’Gorman said, “The Building Blocks – Improvement Grant will provide funding of up to €75,000 for upgrading, renovating or refurbishing Early Learning and Childcare settings to improve the quality of learning environments for children as well as the energy efficiency of the settings.
“This is part of a wider Building Blocks Capital Programme designed to meet current and long-term Early Learning and Childcare infrastructure needs – with details of a €45m Building Blocks – Capacity Grant and a €15m Building Blocks – Innovation Grant to be announced in the coming months.
“Services that sign up for the new €221m Core Funding Scheme are eligible for funding under for the Building Blocks Capital Programme.
“As well as being substantial support to the sector in itself, it is my intention that Core Funding will unlock access to a wider package of supports and resources to providers who chose to work in partnership with the State to deliver Early Learning and Childcare for the public good. The Building Blocks Capital Programme will be just one of an additional incentives on offer”.