28 Jun 2022

Marcella: Government funding will improve childcare in Offaly

Marcella: Government funding will improve childcare in Offaly

Marcella: Government funding will improve childcare in Offaly

Offaly Fine Gael TD, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy has welcomed funding of €18,348 which has been made available by Government to help improve the quality of school age childcare in Offaly.

“The funding will benefit 4 projects in Offaly including Skippy's Creche & Playschool, Cloghan; Clever Clogs, Geashill; Grovelands Childcare, Tullamore; Little Haven Childcare, Birr," Marcella told us. 

This is part of a nationwide allocation of €1.2 million from the School Age Childcare Capital Scheme announced by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone today.

"This funding builds on the recent allocation of €49,000 in funding to help new and existing services to increase the number of childcare places that they provide here in Offaly. In total, Offaly is receiving over €67,000 in funding this summer alone to increase capacity and improve the quality of childcare services," Marcella explained. 

“Improving the quality of existing school age childcare services was one of the key actions of the Action Plan on School Age Childcare, published in March. Actions include the provision of age appropriate play equipment to stimulate children mentally and physically. The idea of this is to try to replicate the home environment for children where they need to avail of childcare afterschool."

Marcella insisted that Fine Gael is also delivering on its election commitment to help ease the financial cost of childcare for hard-pressed working families. New childcare supports coming on stream this September will benefit up to 70,000 children, she told us.

A new universal childcare subsidy, of up to €1,040 per year, is available for children aged from 6 months up to starting their free pre-school year (ECCE Scheme) at 36 months. 

“In addition to this universal payment, there will also be further childcare supports for families who need them most. Families on lower incomes, who qualify by way of a means test, will be eligible for supports worth up to €7,500 per year for children aged 6 months to 15 years of age," Marcella continued.

The aim is to ensure that parents previously prevented from taking up jobs, training or education because of the cost of childcare, will now be able to do so. 

“Fine Gael is building a Republic of Opportunity, ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to reach their full potential. Access to employment and education is a big part of this. Yet childcare can often be a barrier, where it should be a bridge to opportunity for parents, their children and our economy," Marcella said. 

“That’s why it’s so important we continue to invest in childcare here in Offaly in order to increase capacity, improve quality and help ease the cost for parents."

“I strongly encourage all parents to visit - - to see the supports available to their family here in Offaly,” she concluded. 

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