Portsmouth nurseries set for second cash grant and lateral flow testing
IMPORTANT city nurseries are set for another cash boost together with rapid Covid testing to help them through the pandemic.
Portsmouth City Council has revealed all early years settings are due to start receiving lateral flow testing for use on staff.
And a second grant potentially worth up to £2,700 will be offered to mitigate against loss of earnings through lockdown.
The grant will total between £1,350 and £2,700 for each nursery or pre-school and will depend on how much money is spent by the council's education department during the spring.
And between £250 and £500 will be given to each city childminder.
Councillor Suzy Horton, the council's education boss, said: 'Early years provision has never been given as much funding or support by government compared to compulsory education, but this has been particularly felt during the pandemic.
'This is why we knew we wanted to do as much as we possibly could to help these important organisations.
'We will know at a future point how much grant money we can award per early years setting and childminder depending on our underspend.'
She added: 'We are also so pleased we are able to get lateral flow tests out to early year providers. When government was giving them to schools, nurseries that were attached to schools also got them but independent nurseries didn't.'
Tops Day Nurseries director Cheryl Hadland, who oversees nurseries in Cosham and Southsea among others, said she was 'delighted' the cash and testing would be rolled out soon.
'The pandemic has been so tough on nurseries across the nation,' she said.
'While the numbers of children in our nurseries is now higher than it was during the first lockdown, they're not back to what they were this time last year.
'Nurseries run on a very slim margin so they need to be mostly filled to not lose money.
'And with the minimum wage set to go up in April I worry about how nurseries will be able to keep going.’
It comes after it was revealed a mass lateral flow testing programme will soon be introduced in Portsmouth for critical workers.
The grants will be considered at a virtual children, families and education meeting on February 18.