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Dublin: 16°C Tuesday 3 August 2021

Appeal for funding as largest community childcare centre in Ireland faces closure

Darndale Belcamp Integrated Childcare Service employs 48 permanent staff, 7 relief staff and 43 Community Employment, Jobs Initiative and TUS employees.

Image: Finger painting via Shutterstock

THE COUNTRY’S LARGEST community childcare centre is facing closure due to a funding crisis.

The Darndale Belcamp Integrated Childcare Service, located on Dublin’s Northside, has experienced funding cuts over the last number of years that have now placed it in a severe financial crisis.

The Centre acts as a crucial resource for parents, enabling them to access training, education and employment opportunities. It employs 48 permanent staff, 7 relief staff and 43 Community Employment, Jobs Initiative and TUS employees.

With 250 children in attendance daily, most under the age of 6 years, the Darndale Belcamp Integrated Childcare Service needs a €200,000 cash injection to secure the centre to the end of 2014. A further €200,000 would be needed to make the centre sustainable.

The centre has won numerous awards and been held up as an example of community involvement in the past.

Ciarán Mulhall, Chairman of the Voluntary Board of Management said that a closure would have a massive effect on the community.

“The closure will have a detrimental effect on the area and vulnerable children will be put at immediate risk. We are a feeder for three local DEIS schools in the area and the development that the children receive at the centre is vital for their progress in education.

We are pleading with the government for this much needed funding in order to protect the centre, its children and the jobs of our employees.

The issue was raised today in the Dáil by local Labour TD Sean Kenny.

He said that the centre should not be a allowed to close.

“I believe that it is unacceptable that such a vital service as the Darndale Belcamp Integrated Childcare Service Ltd, that has the full support of the local agencies and public representatives, would close.

“The centre needs to know this week if these funds can be provided as their cash flow is again drying up and they have informed their staff and parents of the actual date of closure, which will be by month end or they face the risk of trading recklessly.”

Read: €3m childcare fund will leave 70% of providers ‘out in the cold’

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