Early years settings in Wiltshire will benefit from a £1m grant and targeted support after a Wiltshire Council decision to use government funding to support the sector.
The DfE expects early years providers to remain open to all children during the lockdown and there are concerns providers could struggle financially during the pandemic.
A one-off grant will be made to all open or partially open early years and childcare providers which are delivering services to support PPE and increased cleaning costs. These grants will range from £150 to £1,000 dependent on the size of the provider.
Settings will also be able to apply for support for private losses. This support will cover where bubbles had to self-isolate because of COVID-19, or where the entire setting has had to close due to COVID cases. For settings which need to close, funding will also be provided towards a deep clean prior to reopening. It will also be available in the event of continued staff absence, for example cover for shielding clinically extremely vulnerable staff to contribute towards costs the furlough scheme does not cover.
Wiltshire Council announced earlier this month that £1.1m of the government funding would be used to provide schools with funding to access digital devices for disadvantaged families. Schools are already purchasing tablets and laptops for those in need. This is on top of the national digital devices scheme.
This grant is part of a £5m pot given to Wiltshire Council under the Government’s Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) which will be targeted directly at dealing with COVID-19.
Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills said: “Our early years are doing an amazing job remaining open and providing this essential service to families. We cannot thank them enough for the sterling work they are doing. We know they need our support and this funding will ensure they can continue to operate safely and feel supported at this time. I am delighted we are also able to use the government funding to provide targeted support to help those who really need support in our schools and colleges.”