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:




Free Programme of Resources for Keyworker Parents and Carers

Place2Be which is a national children’s mental health charity in the UK have just launched a free programme of support and resources for keyworker parents and carer including NHS and HSC colleagues to support the mental health and wellbeing of children. These resources are available free of charge until 31 December 2020.


They have also recently hosted three free webinars which focus on:
• Recovery and Self Care
• Holding supportive conversations: listening with empathy
• Understanding and managing anxiety in uncertain times


These webinars are still available online and can be accessed by clicking here: Webinars


In addition to the webinars, you can also access their free art room resource pack for you to craft and create together with children. The pack includes stories, instructions and activities exploring the ways in which parents and children can explore connectivity. The resource pack can be accessed by clicking here: Art Room Resource Pack



Funding Application – Community & Voluntary Sector Group Based Childcare Settings


Call for applications from registered childcare providers to the Northern Childcare Partnership
Early Years Development Fund.

Who Can Apply: Community & Voluntary Sector Group Based Childcare Settings



It has been brought to the attention of the Northern Childcare Partnership (NCP) that DE are intending to  provide funding through Education Restart to support the non-statutory PSEP funded settings in purchasing IT equipment which will assist with remote learning, if necessary, the administration of PSEP and the online pre-school admissions process.

I understand that the non-statutory PSEP funded groups were given advance notice of this in a letter from Siobhan O’Hanlon, Regional Co-ordinator for the Pre-School Education Group  dated 9 October 2020. Further notification from Siobhan will follow mid to late November .

Given this initiative and to avoid any duplication Non Statutory PSEP funded groups in the Northern Trust area should therefore consider making an application for outdoor play, as opposed to ICT, via the NCP Small Grants Scheme 2020.

If you have any queries in regard to this correspondence please do not hesitate to contact the Northern Childcare Partnership Office


Closing Date for Applications Friday 20 November 2020

Click here for more information.