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Childcare start-up boost

Childcare grant schemeA new scheme to help childcare businesses get off the ground has already supported over a thousand new providers to get started.

The £2million childcare start-up grant scheme, which was launched in April, will eventually generate up to 6000 new childcare businesses. The grants are designed to help people pay for the administrative costs necessary when starting a business, including joining your professional association, PACEY. 

Those wanting to set up a new nursery or a childminding business can apply for grants of up to £500 to help cover the cost of things like training, equipment, insurance, and adaptations to premises.

There are also free business mentors who can support these fledgling businesses in their early days with specially-tailored business start-up advice.

Rachel Patchett received a grant in May and is now running her own childminding business at RAF Leeming. She said: "I wanted a new career which had more flexible hours, meaning I could spend more time with my children,  and one which I could 'take with me' when we have to move with my husband’s job.

"I heard about the grant through my local authority. It was super-easy to apply for and the money was in my bank account before the confirmation letter had a chance to arrive - the whole thing was done in a week.

"The grant helped cover the cost of things including Ofsted fees, my CRB check, and basic training - 1st aid and food hygiene, as well as professional membership and insurance. This meant I could then invest my own money in other things like equipment and toys. I would recommend the scheme to as many people as possible."

Minister for Women and Equalities, Maria Miller said:

"I know how good childcare and the peace of mind it brings can be such an important part of women returning to work. This cash boost is helping people in tough times and providing more childcare options so that women who want to can get back to work. Equally, these grants are also providing a helping hand for more entrepreneurs to start-up and run their own businesses, adding to the country’s economic growth. It's a double win.

"It's fantastic that people are already benefiting from the scheme, but there are still plenty of grants up for grabs so, if you think a childcare business is right for you, I would urge you to apply as soon as possible to get funding of your own."

Welcoming the scheme, PACEY's Chief Executive, Liz Bayram, said "These grants will provide a welcome contribution to childminders looking to establish and expand individual businesses. They may also provide some support for nurseries, for whom the cost of establishment is significantly higher.

"PACEY is keen to see that the grants are distributed effectively and are not subject to misuse. This means channelling funds to where vital support for increased childcare provision is most needed and for whom this provision is crucial, especially for families with disabled children."