Education Minister Peter Weir announces new measures to support Registered Childcare Providers


Childcare Notification Dated Jan 5 December 2021


Education Minister Peter Weir announces new measures to support Registered Childcare Providers


In the announcement Education Minister Peter Weir stated:

“that I want to again thank registered childcare providers for the essential work they do. Their hard work on the ground and determination to maintain services at this critical time is vital in helping us to deal with the ongoing challenges facing society as a result of the Covid -19 outbreak


The Childcare Temporary Closure Support Fund will help childcare providers, including childminders, who have re-opened following a Covid-19 temporary closure where

(i)  there has been a Covid positive case of either a member of staff, a childminder or a child in a setting which has resulted in the provider fully closing or in the case of a setting, a pod/group closing; or

(ii)  there is an inability of a setting to comply with staff: child ratios due to staff being required to self-isolate as advised by Public Health Agency.


The Department of Education will roll out these measures as quickly as possible. Early Years the Organisation for young children will administer the scheme.  Full detail of the eligible providers and available amounts including the opportunity to apply for funding are available at:


Initially, eligible providers who have notified their Trust Early Years Teams of a positive case in their setting and those providers located on school premises will receive an invitation to apply.  The initial invitation will issue from Family Support NI.  Any queries should be addressed to the Early Years Organisation via the email address within each of the links above.


Sure Start Big Sing with Santa Video – Happy Christmas from Sure Start

It’s hard to believe that this time last year it was okay to pack St Anne’s Cathedral with over 600 parents, children and staff. This year we wanted to find a way to keep Sure Start singing and bring the same Christmas cheer to our parents and children so we are delighted to send you our ‘Sure Start Big Sing with Santa’ video.


Children, staff and parents from all 9 Sure Start projects took part and we are so grateful to them all for making it possible. Massive thanks to Karen Diamond (Music Therapist) and Aaron Lilburn Productions who pulled it all together.


We hope you enjoy the video:


Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and thank you for your continued support throughout 2020.


NICMA Update

Dear Members,

We hope you are all safe and well during these difficult times! As always Patricia and the NICMA team have been working hard on behalf of all registered childminders in Northern Ireland. Over the past few weeks Patricia has been working closely with the Department of Education to help finalise the details of further funding and ongoing support for registered childminders. The Minister of Finance confirmed that further funding to support the childcare sector has been approved, with £11.3 million allocated for two schemes. £8.5 million has been allocated for ongoing sustainability/ recovery funding and £2.8 million has been allocated for a short term closure support fund. When we are aware of how this funding can be applied for, we will be sure to get this information to all of our members as soon as possible. We are delighted with this news and want to thank everyone who filled out our surveys over the past few months. The information collected from these surveys helped NICMA and Unite put the proposal together that in turn helped the Department in making their decision.


With regards to the funding for short term closure we would like to remind you all that if you need to close your business, due to yourself or someone in your household testing positive for Covid-19 or if you have been in close contact with someone who tested positive, then you must call your local Early Years Team and let them know.

For further information on funding, indemnity insurance, guidance and financial support please click the link below:

Family Support NI


The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has also been extended to provide critical support to the self-employed. There will be a further two grants, each available for 3 month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021.
The third grant will cover the 3 month period from 1st November 2020 to 31st January 2021 and will be a taxable sum calculated at 80% of 3 months average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500. The Government will release further details of the fourth grant in due course.

We would like to remind everyone that these grants are taxable income and also subject to national insurance contributions. For more information on the SEISS please click the link below: