Infant Mental Health

To promote Infant Mental Health week the Interim Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland, Professor Siobhan O’Neill has recorded a short video aimed at parents of young children (approximately age 0-4, although not age specific).  She gives her tips to parents about what they can do to support their children’s mental health and wellbeing which is so important for children’s development, and talks about how to encourage young children to express their feelings and the importance of self-care for parents.   Professor O’Neill also draws on her experience as parent of a 4 year old.


A direct link to the video is also included below:



‘Fair Play’ CWD Small Grants Scheme

For parents of children with a disability, finding appropriate childcare can be challenging. In order to address this issue, the Health and Social Care Board are now calling for applications to the Fair Play Regional Small Grants Scheme which will provide funding to facilitate the inclusion of children with a disability in early years or childcare services. Funding for this initiative has been provided by the Department of Health.

The closing date for applications is 5pm Friday, 18 June 2021. (Please return the application form by post or email). Please contact Kirstein Arbuckle if you require any assistance on 028 95 361064 or email



Family Support Hub Newsletter

The April Edition of the Family Support Hub Newsletter is now available to download at: –

This month’s edition includes:
• Information for parents/carers
• Early Years support
• Kids activities
• Information and resources for children and young people
• Information in relation to children and young people with a disability
• Mental health & wellbeing resources including resources specifically for young people
• Bereavement support
• BAME resources/support
• Domestic & sexual abuse support
• Drug & alcohol support and advice
• Community Information
• Good News Stories
• Covid-19 advice and guidance

Previous editions of the newsletter are available at under Family Support Newsletter section.

DfE Apprentiship Recovery Package

The Department for the Economy (DfE) launched an Apprenticeship Recovery Package for Northern Ireland on September 11th with the aim of providing financial support to local businesses to help the apprenticeship system respond to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.


The Recovery Package included three schemes – the Apprenticeship Challenge Fund, the Apprentice Recruitment Incentive and the Apprenticeship Return, Retain and Result Scheme.  Applications for the Apprenticeship Challenge Fund closed on 23rd October.  13 projects were successful in their application for funding and work on these projects is now under way.  Details on the remaining schemes which are still open are below.   Further information can be found on the NI Business Info website.


Recruitment of New Apprenticeships

This incentive is available to all employers to support the recruitment of new apprentices. Employers will be eligible for up to £3,000 for each new apprenticeship opportunity created from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. This bonus will apply to all new apprenticeship opportunities and includes apprentices who have been made redundant:


  • Payment 1 – £2,000 after 90 days retention following start* of new apprenticeship
  • Payment 2 – £1,000 after 200 days retention following start* of a new paid apprenticeship


Further details on the scheme, full eligibility terms and how to apply can be found here: Coronavirus: New Apprenticeship Incentive Scheme (


Apprenticeship Return, Retain and Result Scheme

To help return apprentices from furlough, and retain them until 31st March 2021 and on to successful completion of their apprenticeship, DfE will provide incentive payments to employers to support the return, retention and result for apprentices.  The total amount payable under the scheme will be a maximum of £3,700 per apprentice, distribution as follows:


  • Return – £500 per returned furloughed apprentice payable for the first full month of paid apprenticeship from 1 November 2020
  • Retain – maximum of £2,000 available: £500 per month for up to 4 months of paid apprenticeship between 1 December 2020 and 31 March 2021
  • Result – £1,200 for successful full framework achievement of a returned furloughed apprentice


Further details on the scheme can be found here:  Coronavirus: Apprenticeship Return, Retain and Result Scheme (


The Apprenticeship Recovery incentives will be promoted again as part of a three week media campaign from 8 to 28 February 2021.  This follows on from the media campaigns in September and November and again utilises TV, radio, outdoor billboards and a variety of social media platforms.