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New start-up grants for childcare businesses

Government plans to offer a start-up grant of up to £500 for new childcare businesses have been met with a mixed reception.

The new Childcare Business Grants Scheme has been introduced by the Government Equalities Office to boost the provision of childcare in England and to incentivise entrepreneurship.

It is hoped to encourage and support the starting up of new childcare businesses by providing a flat rate start-up grant of:

  • £250 for new childminding businesses setting up in England*
  • £500 for new childminding businesses that will provide care for disabled children (applicants will need to demonstrate that they have incurred additional expenditure in setting up their business as a result of this)
  • £500 for new nurseries, out of school clubs and childcare on domestic premises setting up in England.

The scheme is only open to those starting new childcare businesses – it’s not for people who are already working as childminders or running nurseries. Applicants need to have been in touch with their local authority before they apply – that should be their first port of call. If their application is approved, they’ll have six months to get registered with Ofsted, which triggers their grant. Applicants will also be expected to get themselves a mentor to support them.

Some sector leaders, however, have expressed concern at the administration of the grant, which was first announced in November last year by Maria Miller MP.

Find out more about the Childcare Business Grants scheme, and how to apply. The scheme helpline is 0844 264 2546.

* childminders are those who are looking after one or more children under the age of 8 years, to whom they are not related, on domestic premises, for reward and for a total of more than two hours in any day.