SCMA welcomes further £2.2 million funding for professional childminders

SCMA welcomes further £2.2 million funding for professional childminders
The Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) has welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement of a further £2.2 million in funding to support the sustainability of the childminding workforce in Scotland. This is in addition to the £1 million announced last month.
As a result of this increase, individual grants of £750 will be available for all childminding settings in Scotland (over 4,300) and will provide much-needed support for a vital workforce which has been struggling to maintain business viability due to COVID-19.  

Worryingly, 79% of childminders reported to SCMA that they have had a significant reduction in the number of children in their settings due to COVID-19 and, in particular, due to the continuing requirement for parents to work from home.  

A survey conducted by SCMA in late September also highlighted that 46% of childminding settings in Scotland did not believe their businesses would remain viable for more than three-six months without either an increase in business, or additional financial support. As such, today’s announcement of further financial support has been welcomed by SCMA, while recognising that the sector still faces challenges.   

Graeme McAlister, Chief Executive of SCMA, welcomed today’s announcement:
“One of the central roles of SCMA is to work with others, including the Scottish Government, to help share knowledge and understanding of the unique role of childminders, and to help influence policy and decision making based on the real experiences of the childminding workforce in Scotland today and we are pleased that our continued efforts, alongside the many childminders who have contacted Ministers and their MSPs, has resulted in this further funding announcement today, which is much more in line with what is required for the sector. 

“SCMA has worked hard over a period of months, with input from childminders around Scotland, to establish the evidence and case for additional funding to support the sustainability of childminding businesses.

"We welcomed the £1m of financial support announced last month, as this would have provided vital support to those childminding settings most in need, but it would only have supported around 1 in 3 childminding businesses in Scotland when the level of need is much greater. Since that funding was announced we have been advising the Scottish Government on different potential options for the shape of the sustainability fund, who might be eligible and undertaking a range of financial modelling. However, this work just served to further affirm the limited nature of the funding, that applications would require complex needs assessment and ultimately it would fall far short of the level of need – as such, further scaling up of financial support was required. 

“To its credit, the Scottish Government has listened and continued to engage positively with SCMA and others. The further £2.2 million for childminding is very welcome. However, it is clear that COVID-19 continues to present significant challenges and risks to childminding businesses and that this much-needed financial gain could be easily undermined if any further operating restrictions were to be placed on childminding businesses during the pandemic.” 

Grants of £750 will be available via application to Scottish Government to all childminding services registered with the Care Inspectorate as of 1 February 2021.  Further information will be made available as soon as possible on how to apply.