Sure Start


Sure Start Projects in Northern Ireland are working hard to continue to provide support to families in their communities during the COVID 19 crisis.  While they have ceased providing normal services for now, they are exploring whatever innovative means they can to support families.  This includes maximising the use of phone calls and on line support – including social media, podcasts, YouTube videos & email resources.  They are determined to join the community effort to make a difference.  #SURESTARTWORKS for children, families and communities.  Facing COVID 19 with community solidarity instead of fear.

British & Irish Sign Language Public Health Information – COVID19


The PHA has made available two videos in British and Irish Sign Language, covering the key public health information regarding COVID19. Please click links below:






COVID-19 Information for Providers of Registered Childcare


The situation in relation to COVID-19 is a changing one and the Public Health Agency (PHA) advice is updated frequently to reflect that. Therefore I would urge all providers of registered childcare to check the PHA website on a daily basis.


If you have any specific queries you can contact the PHA on their helpline number 0300 200 7885  for advice in relation to specific queries, or visit their website for general updated information.


The section on Guidance to Educational Settings is particularly relevant and will also be updated to reflect changes in the situation.



You can also contact NHS 111 helpline, and



This website provides good advice about the measures you can take to avoid infection, so I would advise all providers to visit it, read the information carefully and implement with all staff.


The Health and Social Care Board works closely with our public health colleagues in the Public Health Agency and NHS 111, who are the best placed to provide updated advice through their helpline in relation to any recommended actions that a provider of registered childcare should take in response to COVID-19.


This is naturally a worrying time for both staff and families and we appreciate your support in ensuring that we follow the advice of public health professionals in ensuring an effective and proportionate response to a changing situation.


In addition providers of Registered Childcare should note the following:



  • You will have to do this in line with your own policies and procedures which you may need to review and amend. Any resulting action you take should take account of any specific advice you may need to seek, or have been given, from the Public Health Agency and/or Environmental Health.


  • The Minimum Standards October 2018 at page 14 Footnote 5, references guidelines which the Public Health Agency have already  produced on Infection Control –“Infection, Prevention and Control – Best Practice Advice for Nurseries and childcare settings.”



Please review it against your own policies and procedures governing “Infection, prevention and Control” and/or  “Exclusion of Children from the setting.” You are also advised to review your equipment and resources to ensure they are sufficient for good hygiene and infection control.


  • If your service is directly impacted by this infection, you should seek advice  from the Public Health Agency in the first instance, following that you must inform your local HSC Trust Early Years Team to inform them, including the action you have taken, or are proposing to take to minimise or remove the risk to children, families and staff attending the facility.


  • Notification to the Early Years team should include sharing the information you are providing to parents of children attending your provision.  If you are required to cease your service for any period of  time the local Trust Early Years Team will need to engage in discussion with you about this and to inform Family Support NI which holds the public register for childcare.