The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, announced the allocation of €9 million in grant funding for 141 early learning and childcare services under the Building Blocks – Improvement Grant.
Grants range from €35,000 to €75,000 across two separate strands: Green Energy and Retrofit.
Under the Green Energy Strand, grants are being provided for improvements to increase energy efficiency, utilising renewables where feasible, such as the installation of solar panels and heat pumps, insulation and water conservation measures.
The Green Energy Strand will support the Climate Action Agenda and the Programme for Government, which aim to transition to a carbon neutral economy by the end of 2050 and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030.
The Retrofit Strand will support existing services in need of upgrading. Eligible works include kitchen works and refurbishment, upgrading of sanitary facilities for children and adults, roof repairs/replacement, and upgrading of flooring.
Speaking about the announcement, Minister O’Gorman said, “as every sector aims to reduce carbon emissions, in line with Ireland’s Climate Action Plan, I am delighted that early learning and childcare providers across the country will be using these grants to install solar panels, insulate buildings and improve energy efficiency. This will mean greener, warmer buildings, with the added benefit of lower running costs for providers.”
“In addition, through the retrofit grant, providers will now have an opportunity to make small changes that can have a big difference, such as new floors, doors and kitchens.”
The Minister also signalled that plans for the €45m Building Blocks – Capacity Grant and a €15m Building Blocks – Innovation Grant are in development, with details of the Building Blocks – Capacity Grant to be announced in the coming months.