“Nurseries, pre-schools and childminders play an essential role in supporting our youngest members of society, and many providers are small businesses that do not have the financial backing like larger organisations do”, said Cllr Clark. “It is crucial that we continue to support this sector while additional restrictions are in place, ensuring that there are sufficient childcare places available when we eventually start to recover from the pandemic.”
Conservative-led Wokingham Borough Council has set aside £100,000 to help nurseries and pre-schools across the Borough that are in need of urgent financial support as a result of the pandemic.
Part of a broader £1.2m fund to support the rollout of lateral flow testing to keyworkers, the practicalities of the NHS vaccination programme, additional Free School Meals, and to support contact tracing across the borough, this ring-fenced fund will provide grants of up to £3,000 to nurseries and pre-schools that are unable to meet immediate fixed costs due to effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The grant funding, which will be available from next week, will be open to all Ofsted registered settings who have explored all other financial support first, and there will be no requirement to repay the money back.
Cllr UllaKarin Clark, executive member for children’s service said: “We understand that nurseries and pre-schools have been hit significantly by the pandemic and economic downturn. From absorbing increased costs on items such as PPE, to bringing in less income due to more parents working from home; it has been an extremely stressful period for providers.
“We want to do as much as we can to support, so, on top of the advice and help we are already offering, we are pleased to now have extra funding available. This will act as a financial lifeboat to those who are struggling to meet certain costs.”
To apply, nurseries and pre-schools in Wokingham Borough are encouraged to contact the council’s Early Years and Children’s Services team on EarlyYears@wokingham.gov.uk in the first instance, so they can discuss the grant and eligibility. The team will then provide a form for settings to complete. Applications are limited to one per setting and should be made by Friday 26 February.