Community childcare centre may be forced to close due to lack of funding

Tuesday 13 May 2014 21.47
Over the past five years the centre's funding has been cut by €300,000
Over the past five years the centre's funding has been cut by €300,000

Ireland's largest community childcare centre could be forced to close in the coming weeks because of a cash flow problem, which it says has been caused by funding cuts.

The Darndale/Belcamp Integrated Childcare Centre in Dublin, provides crèche and after school care for 260 children.

The service, which has 98 staff, has advised parents that closure is imminent unless the Government restores funding.

Centre Manager, Kelda Barnes said "In the past five years we found ways to try and solve the problems ourselves.

"We've taken pay cuts, increased parents fees, change the layout of the centre to maximise space, and last year we raised €112,000 in fundraising.

"This year we've run out of options, we've done everything we can do in the centre. We are now asking the government to please support us."

The majority of children at the centre are availing of subsidised childcare schemes and worried parents say without the facility, they would have to give up their work or education.

Michelle Curley, whose daughter attends the centre, said "this subsidised crèche is a lifeline to me, it allows me to go to work so that I can make ends meet in my household."

Another parent, Suzanne Webster who works for a charity, said if the service closed she'd "have to give up her community employment completely and go back on social welfare, which is something that I definitely don't want to happen."

The childcare centre has annual expenditure of €2m and over the past five years its funding has been cut by €300,000.

It needs €200,000 to stay open until the end of the year.

This evening, the Minister for Children, Charlie Flanagan TD said in a statement: "I have arranged for a meeting tomorrow of funding agencies following which I expect there will be an early meeting with the centre to constructively explore all options for achieving a sustainable approach to the Centre's operations."