Improved Support for Childcare and Nursery Providers
A report undertaken by the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee highlighted an acute shortage of childcare and nursery facilities for 0-5-year-olds and more specifically under 2-year-olds across the Island. The Department for Enterprise made changes to two of its business support schemes in order to address the shortage by offering improved financial support for childcare and nursery providers.
The support forms part of a wider Government strategy to stimulate economic growth, as the shortage of childcare facilities is seen as a factor that could potentially prevent parents returning to work and new workers looking to relocate to the Island.
Following a recent review of the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS), a number of changes have come into effect, including support for nursery and child day care centres. As well as this, changes to the Micro Business Grant Scheme (MBGS) have been made, including an enhanced rate of financial support of up to £15,000 available to childcare providers and nurseries.
Minister for Enterprise, Laurence Skelly MHK, commented:
‘We listened to the feedback from the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee which highlighted the shortage of childcare and nursery facilities. We aim to promote every opportunity for parents to return to work and believe the additional support for businesses operating or looking to operate in this area will provide services which meet the needs of our community.
‘It is essential that we recognise gaps in our offering to ensure the Island remains a place where people choose to live, work and invest. The changes the Department has made will not only meet the needs of businesses but also the needs of society, aligning with the Programme for Government.’
Elinore Grounds and Charlotte Forfar, co-owners of Little Rascals Nursery, received support from the Department’s Financial Assistance Scheme to open a second location, Tree House Nursery. The decision to open the second nursery came about after the duo realised they were at full capacity and saw a real demand for places across the Island. Elinore commented:
‘We approached the Department for Enterprise for financial support and received a grant to offset the cost of vital provisions including toys, and office equipment. We also utilised the funding beyond start-up capital costs, and received financial assistance for first year rental costs. Without the Department’s assistance and support we wouldn’t have been able to expand and open the nursery as quickly as we have done.’
If you are a childcare or nursery business owner and would like to learn more about the support the Department can offer you, please visit iomdfenterprise.im/financial-support.