Government unveils £5.2m grant scheme to support 30-hours childcare drive

By Neil Puffett

| 11 October 2016

Charities will be able to apply for grant funding from a total pot of £5.2m to improve early years services and deliver free childcare, it has been announced.

The £5.2m pot of grant funding is intended to target four priorities, including supporting disadvantaged children and supporting the doubling of free childcare. Picture: Lucie Carlier

The government said the Early Years VCS Grant Programme is intended to "help develop and further" its strategic aims to support early years priorities.

One of the four funding criteria is listed as "implementation support" to deliver key policies. Under government plans, all three- and four-year-olds will be entitled to 30 hours of government-funded childcare each week from September 2017.

The other three funding criteria are supporting disadvantaged children, early years special educational needs and disabilities, and workforce development.

"We are targeting these priorities to help address gaps in the market; provide support for the most disadvantaged children; and to further support or embed government childcare reforms," a government document states.

The Department for Education said a number of grants - which will cover the 15-month period from January 2017 to March 2018 - are expected to be in the region of £150,000 to £450,000 each and will be awarded across each of the four priority themes.

When asked if there will be more funding announced through other VCS contracts, a DfE spokesperson said the extent of the detail is in the contract and there is nothing further to add to that document.

Last month, it emerged that the government had made £2.25m available for safeguarding projects for the 18-month period up to April 2018.

The VCS grant scheme had previously been worth £60m a year in 2011/12 and 2012/13, followed by £30m a year in 2013/14 and 2014/15. A further £25m was handed out in 2015/16.

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