Welcome for Department of Education extension of childcare sustainability fund

Susan Fitzgerald, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer

Public commitment by Education Minister could mean additional payment of £765 to registered childminders

Move comes after intense campaign to highlight needs of practitioners by Unite the union Registered Childminders branch

Unite the union welcomed today’s commitment by Education Minister Michelle McIlveen to extend the Childcare Sustainability fund. The decision will mean that registered childminders will be in line for payments of up to £765 to cover losses from January to the end of March.

The announcement came in response to the campaign of Unite Registered Childminders (RCM) who have campaigned to highlight the ongoing needs of the sector. The union conducted a survey of almost 500 registered childminder members; this was then compiled into the form of a report on the needs of the sector which was provided to the Minister and other politicians.

Unite Regional Coordinating Officer, Susan Fitzgerald, welcomed the announcement. She congratulated members of her Registered Childminders branch on scoring another huge success.

“Today’s announcement is the latest in a string of successes for Unite’s Registered Childminders’ branch. Their efforts in engaging with their members, conducting research on the needs of the sector and then bringing that to the door of politicians have been the critical factor in securing this outcome. 

“As a result of the childminders’ campaign, the Education Minister has been pushed to extend the Sustainability Fund. Registered childminders can now look forward to receiving up to £765 extra to help them through the first quarter of this year. This is not only a huge boost to the incomes of registered childminders but will also safeguard the provision of vital childcare services benefiting workers across the board.”

Sharon Collins, branch secretary for the Unite Registered Childminders also welcomed the announcement saying it was essential that practitioners receive support given the tailwinds of the Covid pandemic.

“As evidenced by the results of our survey, Registered Childminders continue to suffer the impacts of the Covid pandemic. The numbers of children at childcare providers remains depressed and this has lowered incomes, meaning Registered Childminders continue to face a real struggle. We are encouraging any Registered Childminder needing clarification on their eligibility for this support to contact the branch for further information.”

The branch continue its campaign work towards its goal of providing a collective voice for NI RCMs and RCM assistants. The Unite RCM branch seeks to guarantee its members the same opportunities and guidelines as are available in the rest of the UK and Ireland. It advocates for access to continuing education, support, guidance and training and seeks to input and share insight into the shaping of a future plan for childcare in the region. The branch is a part of the upcoming NI Childcare Strategy and hopes to deliver childcare services that are flexible, affordable and convenient to our children and parents.

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