Offaly County Childcare Committee -   057 9135878

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Offaly County Childcare Committee is located at St Joseph's Community Centre in Kilcormac, Co Offaly.

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Minister O'Gorman announces new scheme to pilot the provision of hot meals to children in early learning and childcare settings

From Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth 

Published on 22 November 2022

Last updated on 18 November 2022

  • €150,000 scheme to pilot the provision a range of meal options to children, including the provision of hot meals.
  • Pilot sites will include early learning and childcare settings operating in areas of concentrated disadvantage.
  • Results from pilot scheme to inform wider work under way to develop a DEIS type model for early learning and childcare.

Roderic O'Gorman, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, today announced €150,000 in funding for a scheme to pilot the provision of meals, including hot meals, to children in early learning and childcare settings.

The pilot scheme, which is being funded under Dormant Accounts Funding, will test a range of meal options for children in early learning and childcare settings operating in areas of concentrated disadvantage. Hot Meals DCEDIY

The three meal options in the pilot scheme will be:

  • breakfast or snack
  • breakfast or snack, plus a packed lunch for children to take home
  • hot meal or snack

As well as funding, pilot settings will have the assistance of a dietician to support the selection of the meal options.

The pilot scheme will be subject to an evaluation that will include consultation with children and their families, educators and service managers.

The pilot scheme is one of a range of measures committed to under First 5, a whole-of-government strategy for babies, young children and their families, to help tackle early childhood poverty and to support children’s health, learning and development.

The results of the pilot scheme will inform decisions about wider roll out as well as work ongoing in the department to develop a DEIS-type model for early learning and childcare, which aims to provide services with a proportionate mix of universal and targeted supports to support children and families accessing their services who are experiencing disadvantage.

Pobal will support the delivery and evaluation of this pilot scheme.

In announcing the pilot scheme, Minister O’Gorman said:

Roderic OGorman

 "Early learning and childcare services work very hard every day to support children experiencing disadvantage and are uniquely placed to ensure these children can access nutritious meals and snacks – which is so important for children’s health, learning and development.

"Already, as required by regulation, children attending these services on a full-time basis are provided with two meals (one hot) and two snacks throughout the day. This covers a significant proportion of their daily food intake – as much as 70 percent.

"For children attending these services for shorter periods however, the provision of food is far more limited. Under this scheme, a range of meal options, including a hot meal, will be piloted among this cohort.

"The results of the pilot scheme is being undertaken under First 5 and as part of wider work underway in my department to develop a DEIS-type model for early learning and childcare."

 Anna Shakespeare, CEO of Pobal said:

"Pobal is delighted to partner the department on this important initiative given the impact this intervention will have on children experiencing disadvantage."

Reminder: Building Blocks - Improvement Grant application deadline 25 November at 5pm

Dear Service Provider, Building blocks Hive

Building Blocks – Improvement Grant applications opened on 28th October.  

The closing date for applications is Friday 25th November 2022 at 5pm.  Late applications will not be accepted. reminder logo

When submitting your application, please ensure you have attached all required documents from the following checklist:

  Checklist of Documents
1. Professional Report (Mandatory for Strand A)
2. Planning Permission, if required for Strand A only
3. Rental/Lease/licence agreement, if required
4. Owners Permission template, if required
5. Indicative Quote Documentation
6. Evidence of Own Funding, if required
7. Additional Supporting Documentation

Please refer to the Applicant Guidelines and FAQ available on the Capital – Documents page of the Early Years Hive for support on completing the application for Building Blocks – Improvement Grant.

Applicants can contact the Early Years Provider Centre (EYPC) with any queries by raising a Service Request on Hive under the programme: Building Blocks - Improvement Grant and selecting the relevant sub-category. 

PLEASE NOTE: If applicants contact Pobal with an ICT issue within 48 hours of the closing date and time, Pobal cannot guarantee that the ICT issue will be resolved in time to submit the application.



The Early Years Team 

Reminder - Core Funding three-week backdating window

Dear Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare Providers, reminder logo

This is a reminder that due to the extension to the backdating window, there is only a three-week window in which changes that occurred before 28 October will be backdated if they are submitted by close of business 18 November 2022. After this date, back payments will not be permitted for Core Funding.

If you have any queries, please contact the Early Years Provider Centre (EYPC) by raising a Service Request on Hive under the programme: Core Funding.

Best wishes

The Early Years Team

Better Start Quality Development Service Evaluation

Dear ELC/SAC provider,  DCEDIY logo

Better Start Quality Development Service Evaluation

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) have commissioned an independent evaluation of the Better Start Quality Development Service (QDS). Better Start QDS is a national initiative that was launched in 2015 to enhance quality practice and promote positive outcomes for children in Early Learning and Care (ELC) settings.   Better Start

The evaluation aims to better understand the Better Start QDS, whether it contributes to improved quality of practice and positive outcomes, and if there are any areas for improvement. It is an independent evaluation that is being carried out by the Centre for Effective Services (CES) and Marino Institute of Education (MIE).   

CES and MIE recently launched a short, confidential online survey exploring services’ experiences with Better Start QDS. A link to this survey has been shared with all services who have engaged with QDS since 2015. We would like to thank all the service providers who have participated to date, and encourage any who have not yet completed the survey to do so when possible. This survey is an important part of the evaluation and will inform our understanding of Better Start QDS, as well as any areas for future development and investment. 

We understand this can be a very busy time in the sector and appreciate all those who volunteer their time to assist with the evaluation.  

Kind regards

The Early Years Team

Invitation to submit and Expression of Interest to take part in Aistear and Play CPD IN 2023

Dear Service Provider,Aistear invite 14 11 2022

What is Aistear & Play CPD?

Aistear & Play CPD is part of the National Síolta Aistear Initiative (NSAI) a collaboration between Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Inclusion and Youth (DCEDIY), Department of Education (DE), Better Start National Early Years Quality Development & the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). The purpose of the NSAI is to support the implementation of our two National Frameworks-Síolta and Aistear. From spring 2019, the Aistear & Play has been delivered in partnership with the Better Start Quality Development Service (QDS).

This CPD is an eligible activity for your Core Funding Quality Action Plan. Settings are invited to complete an Expression of Interest to take part in the course in 2023.

To register your interest, click here and click on submit when the form is completed. The closing date to submit the form is 30th November.

Kind Regards

The Early Years Team

Supporting Quality Childcare in Offaly

Offaly County Childcare Committee support the development of quality, affordable, inclusive, accessible childcare and family friendly services for all children in every part of the county.

Offaly County Childcare Committee has been meeting since May 2001 and is made up of representatives from the statutory sector, social partners, community groups, voluntary groups, the Community and Voluntary Forum, National Voluntary Children's Organisations, providers of childcare, and parents - all of whom have a vested interest in childcare provision in the county.

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