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38 early childhood centres benefit from funding

38 early childhood centres benefit from funding boost

Thirty-eight early childhood centres will benefit immediately from the Government's boost to funding to the 1999/2000 discretionary grants scheme, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

The announcement follows the decision in April to make an injection of just over $3 million into the early childhood discretionary grants scheme. The scheme provides capital assistance to community-based, not-for-profit, early childhood services to help them reach or retain licensing standards.

"The centres named today all passed the eligibility criteria in the funding round last year but missed out on a grant.

Trevor Mallard today visited Miramar Community Creche in Wellington – one of the centres to benefit from the increase in funding to the general pool of the grants scheme.

"They currently meet in a community hall built early last century which they have to share with other community groups. Now will have access to a purpose-built facility that is much needed in this particular community.

Nationwide 38 centres benefited from the injection to the grants scheme including nine from the Pacific Island pool.

"The Government sees increasing participation and quality of early childhood education as a key tool to help meet our 'closing the gaps' challenge.

"We have identified the difficulty in establishing buildings that meet licensing standards as a major barrier for Pacific children, in particular, participating in quality early childhood education.

"I know many Pacific communities in New Zealand that have all the will in the world but just don't have the means to raise all the funds needed for buildings.

"They meet in places like garages and old halls that they need to vacate when another group books in.

"What is really frustrating is that they have qualified staff who they cannot pay properly because their buildings do not meet criteria and they therefore miss out on funding.

"Last year the National government denied funding to nine centres when they allocated $1 million to a Pacific pool. Through that action, they denied quality early childhood education to about 250 children and as a result opened gaps further.

"All nine centres are able to still meet the eligibility criteria and will receive funding almost immediately. I am particularly pleased to be able to offer support to those communities to enhance the early childhood education they provide to their children," Trevor Mallard said.

Trevor Mallard said funding for the next round of discretionary grants would be included in next week's Budget.

ends

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