A new million pound package in grant support is being rolled out to help early years providers in Havering.
The new £1.03 million discretionary grant is due to open to nurseries, playgroups and childminders, many of which have remained open to support children of critical workers through the pandemic.
Early years providers, will need to check if they are eligible for the funding when applications open next week.
The announcement is part of an ongoing package of support that the Council has available to early years providers.
Councillor Robert Benham, Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Families, said:
“The new grant will provide much-needed funding for our early years providers who have been working tirelessly through the pandemic to support local children, particularly those of critical workers. It will allow them to plan ahead and offset some of the costs they have been facing to keep their services running. The services they are providing are critical to the recovery of our economy.”
The latest grant means a total of £1.2 million will have been granted to early years providers since the start of the pandemic.
Currently 128 providers have been supported with grants ranging from £300 to £1,500.
The funds are in addition to other support provided and still being delivered.
Plans are currently being made to virtually meet providers to discuss their concerns around support and funding, vaccinations for staff and access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Over the past year, the Council has been providing free training, responding to enquiries and leading briefing sessions each term. The introduction of fortnightly wellbeing support calls to managers, which began in January, are now well underway.
Previously paid-for PPE was made free from London Resilience Forum just after Christmas and the Council is currently looking into the feasibility of using a number of early years sites for rapid Covid testing.
Councillor Benham added:
“We’ve taken on board that many early years staff can’t get to testing sites during their working day, so we’ve been able to get an extension to the sites opening hours from the Department of Health and Social Care. However, if the early years’ sites can also become testing sites, this should make it easier for many to get tested.
“Unfortunately, we can’t prioritise staff for the vaccine as the decisions are made nationally, but we’re continuing to lobby the Department for Education for the whole education workforce to be included as early as possible in the next phase of the vaccination programme.”
Further information about the grants will be released shortly.