We are happy to advise you that the application process for the Building Blocks Capacity Grant Expansion Scheme is now open. The opening of the application process was announced by Minister O’Gorman in a press release today. Please see link below to press release.

This follows on from the initial announcement of the scheme on 7th December 2023.  €18 million is being made available to fund the scheme.

This scheme is designed to support existing services to undertake reconfigurations or renovations that will increase their full day and/or part time places capacity for 1-3 year-olds (pre-ECCE), where there is evidence of demand for additional places.

The grant will be open to both private and community-based services who are Core Funding Partner Services. Community services will be fully-funded for projects of between €50,000 and €100,000. Private services will be required to demonstrate evidence of match funding, with a maximum contribution by the Department of 50% of total project costs, between €25,000 and €50,000.

In order to be eligible for grants, services must commit to increasing their service provision by at least five places for 1-2 year-olds or at least six places for 2-3 year-olds (pre-ECCE), or to increase capacity over both age cohorts to a minimum of six. Places for children in other age brackets may also be eligible for funding once these minimum requirements are met. Minimum requirements for the number of hours of provision per week and weeks per year also apply.

The appraisal of applications will assess the extent to which the application meets the priorities of the scheme, demonstrates evidence of need, value for money, the amount of new capacity delivered and the quality and achievability of the project. The appraisal process will incorporate analysis from a Relative Demand Model that has been developed. This will be used as part of the scoring in order to target investment to areas with biggest mismatch between supply and demand.

A key factor in eligibility to access the scheme will be a check to ensure that fees charged by services applying do not exceed a Maximum Fee Threshold. This is to ensure that capital investment does not result in the delivery of places that are unaffordable to parents. The calculation and application of the Maximum Fee Threshold are outlined in the Applicant Guidelines.

The Expansion Grant scheme is the first of two strands of the Capacity Grant Scheme and a larger-scale Extension Grant Scheme will open later in 2024.

The Applicant Guidelines are available here Building Blocks – Expansion Grant Scheme 2024 – Applicant Guidelines 1

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