Education Minister, Michelle McIlveen today announced a further extension to two Covid-19 childcare support funds.
This includes a third phase of the Childcare Sustainability Fund for the period 1 April to 30 June 2021 and the Childcare Covid-19 Temporary Closure Fund from 1 April to 30 September 2021.
The Minister said: “I am pleased to announce a further extension of the financial support available to the childcare sector as we continue to emerge from the pandemic. These schemes will supplement approximately £30m of emergency funding which has already been provided to the childcare sector up to March 2021.
“The Covid-19 Childcare Sustainability Fund will provide vital financial support for eligible registered childcare providers who are continuing to incur additional costs while operating within Covid-19 guidance and a reduced demand for services during this recovery phase.
“While the closure of childcare providers remains very low, the Childcare Covid-19 Temporary Closure Fund will minimise the financial impact on childcare providers who have been forced to temporarily suspend their services due to a Covid related incident within their provision.”
The Temporary Closure Fund will also support parents, as funding is only available to those childcare providers that do not charge parents while their provision is temporarily suspended due to Covid-19 cases.
The Minister concluded: “The continuation of this funding during these final stages of recovery and easing of restrictions, recognises the vital role that childcare providers play in supporting the economy and supporting families. I want to thank the childcare sector for its continued dedication to maintaining services during these challenging times.”
The two extended Covid-19 support funds open from 18 June 2021 for applications from eligible daycare, school-aged childcare settings, childminders, crèches and playgroups. Eligible childcare providers will be able to apply for funding via Early Years – the organisation for young children website.
Stop and think this Farm Safety Week
This week marks the 9th annual Farm Safety Week and Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots and Economy Minister Gordon Lyons have met with farmer Derek Robinson whose son came close to losing his life when he was overcome with slurry fumes.
Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots said: “Since January 2015 there have been 35 fatalities on farms in Northern Ireland and that is just too many. It is vital that we encourage all those working in the farming industry to stop and think about farm safety. By taking some simple precautions we can reduce the number of people killed and injured on our farms.
“As someone who has spent a lifetime working in the farming industry, I am well aware of the satisfaction and joy working on the farm can bring, but I also know that, all too quickly, it can turn into a nightmare if you aren’t careful with your equipment and your surroundings.
“I would encourage everyone to take the time now, to be extra careful and vigilant. It is vital that farmers pause and think about what they are doing before beginning work with livestock, machinery or slurry.”
Farm Safety Week is an awareness raising event that sees the Farm Safety Partnerships, Farm Safety Foundation, Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland and the Health and Safety Authority Ireland joining forces to drive the fundamental message of safety within the agricultural community home.
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons added: “Farm Safety Week is significant in helping to focus attention on farm safety and the measures that can be taken to ensure everyone is kept safe and out of harm’s reach.
“Derek’s story is important in that it highlights the fact that while many farms are work places they are also family homes bringing additional risks and considerations. With school summer holidays upon us it is critical we are even more mindful of children on the farm and ensure all is done to avoid accidents and injury.”
Stay Safe During Hot Weather
The First Minister and deputy First Minister have encouraged everyone to stay safe and look out for others during the current spell of very hot weather.
Paul Givan and Michelle O’Neill were speaking after the Met Office issued the first ever warning for extreme heat here.
Executive departments and civil contingency agencies are working to mitigate any potential impacts to health, wellbeing and public services.
First Minister Paul Givan said: “After a difficult time for the whole community, it is understandable that people want to be out and about across Northern Ireland during this period of hot, dry weather. We want everyone to enjoy the sunshine, but it is very important that everyone does it safely.
Extreme heat can have serious consequences for people’s health, public services and the environment. So we ask everyone to take steps to protect themselves. Don’t take risks that could potentially be dangerous for you, your family or the wider community.”
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “We have been experiencing an unprecedented heatwave and temperatures here are set to escalate even further in the coming days. It is vitally important that we all follow the advice that will help to keep everyone safe.
“Of course many people are keen to experience the good weather, but we ask everyone to take care of themselves, and others so that no one comes to any harm as a result of the extreme heat. Please check in on anyone who might be more vulnerable, including older family, friends and neighbours.”
Information and advice for people during the extreme heat warning is available at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/news/extreme-heat-warning-information-and-advice