Government funding of more than €500,000 has been allocated to improve childcare services in Galway with additional pre-school places, building works, and investment in outdoor facilities planned for next term.
A total of 50 childcare providers in the city and county have been approved for grants of up to €50,000 for improvements to facilities and the provision of additional free childcare places.
The funding was announced by Fine Gael TD for Galway West Hildegarde Naughton, who said the investment represented positive news for children, families and childcare providers.
Grants have been allocated under three headings to support the provision of additional free childcare places, maintenance and building improvement works, and the development of natural outdoor play areas.
“This is a substantial investment in services, which will improve both access to free childcare for families and the quality of care being provided through the enhancement of facilities,” said Deputy Naughton.
“Our approach to subsidising childcare has changed radically in recent years, and this investment is a further signal of this Government’s commitment to that new approach. It is about helping families and giving children the best possible start in life. It is a policy that incorporates significant social benefits and provides some economic relief for hard-pressed families.”
“The rescue and resuscitation of the economy has been the focus of the Government in recent years. Its success in confronting that challenge has put us in a position where we can now focus on the kind of country that we’re going to rebuild.
She stated that the reimagining of early childcare subsidies and investment in that area is part of that process.
“It is an important priority, which will have a positive impact on both this generation and the next,” added Deputy Naughton.
A total of €536,711 has been approved for 50 childcare providers in areas throughout the county including Ballybane, Corrandulla, Leenane, Spiddal, Inishbofin, and Inis Mór.
Some €226,839 has been allocated for the provision of additional free childcare places, while €146,408 is designated for building improvement works, and €163,464 has been earmarked for the development of outdoor play areas.
The funding is part of an €8.4million investment in childcare services – doubling the amount originally allocated for this purpose last March. More than 2,200 new places will be provided in September.