Capital works grants

Research shows that children who participate in a quality early childhood education program for at least 600 hours in the year before school are more likely to start school equipped with the social, cognitive and emotional skills they need to engage in learning.

Grant-based funding allows the use of innovative approaches to improve access to quality services and increase preschool places in areas where there are high needs.

Program overview

The $5 Million Start Strong Capital Works Grants program aims to increase the number of 600 hour preschool places available in areas where there is demonstrated need.

Eligible services can apply for funding through this program for:

  • Building a new centre-based preschool
  • Purchasing motor vehicles for mobile preschools
  • Extending an existing preschool
  • Renovations to existing or new premises
  • Capital projects to respond to a crisis situation

Capital works grants will be awarded through a competitive application process. Applications are open through SmartyGrants from 23 February – 2 May 2018.

To assist services in the preparation of grant applications for this program, see the Application Guide. The guide provides examples of the types of information that could be included to support applications for this program.

Service eligibility criteria

To be eligible to apply for the $5 Million Start Strong Capital Works Grants program, service providers must first meet the following criteria:

  • Hold, or have an application lodged to hold, a valid Provider Approval to operate an early childhood education service in NSW. Provider Approval must be obtained within 12 months of receiving notification of the successful outcome of this grant application.
  • Be registered or incorporated in NSW, as a not for profit organisation or association with appropriate governance mechanisms and sound financial management.
  • Operate, or intend to operate, a mobile or centre based community preschool service with a valid Service Approval. Service providers intending to operate an early childhood education centre must obtain Service Approval within 12 months of receiving notification of the successful outcome of this grant application.
  • Comply or agree to comply with the requirements of applicable national and state laws and regulations for the relevant service type (e.g. the Early Childhood Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010, Children (Education and Care Services National Law Application) Act 2010, Education and Care Services National Regulations, Supplementary Provisions Regulation 2012).
  • Supply proof the applicant can provide a contribution of at least 5% of the total amount of funding requested.
  • Service providers must agree that the capital works grant will not be used to fund the purchase of land.

Additional eligibility criteria by application category

In order to increase 600 hour preschool places as part of this program, the application categories are:

  • Building a new centre-based preschool
  • Purchasing motor vehicles for mobile preschools
  • Extending an existing preschool
  • Renovations to existing premises
  • Capital works projects to respond to a crisis situation

Each category has additional eligibility criteria that are to be addressed as part of the application. These eligibility criteria for each category are provided below.

New centre-based preschool

To be eligible to apply for a capital works grant under the new centre-based preschool category, the applicant must:

  • Operate an approved centre-based preschool (mobile preschools are ineligible to apply in this category).
  • Provide proof of ownership of land, or an adequate lease period (minimum 10 years).
  • Note that relocations are eligible where there is evidence that relocating to new premises will provide a substantial increase in 600 hour preschool places. The department will not pay associated relocation costs.

Motor vehicles for mobile preschools

To be eligible to apply for a capital works grant to provide a mobile preschool through the purchase of a new motor vehicle, the applicant must:

  • Operate an approved mobile preschool (centre-based preschools are ineligible to apply in this category).
  • Have not received funding through any other Early Childhood Education Directorate program.
  • Apply for a motor vehicle that will be:
    • used primarily to deliver preschool education.
    • fit for purpose and capable of transporting equipment to mobile venues and operating safely in varying weather conditions.
    • registered in NSW.
  • Note that one application per new vehicle is required.

Extensions

To be eligible to apply for a capital works grant to extend an existing preschool facility, the applicant must:

  • Operate an approved centre-based preschool (mobile preschools are ineligible to apply in this category).
  • Provide proof of ownership of land, or an adequate lease period (minimum 10 years).
  • Note that relocations are eligible where there is evidence that relocating to new premises will provide a substantial increase in 600 hour preschool places. The department will not pay associated relocation costs.

Renovations

To be eligible to apply for a capital works grant to renovate existing premises, including those currently operating as a preschool service, the applicant must:

  • Operate or intend to operate an approved centre-based preschool (mobile preschools are ineligible to apply in this category).
  • Provide proof of ownership of land, or an adequate lease period (minimum 10 years).
  • Relocations are eligible where there is evidence that relocating to new premises will provide a substantial increase in 600 hour preschool places. The department will not pay associated relocation costs.
  • The premises may or may not be currently operating as a preschool service. The renovation will increase the premises’ functionality to operate as a preschool service in order to meet the program aim (rather than renovating solely for aesthetic purposes).

Crisis situations

The crisis situation category relates to capital works projects that increase preschool places by addressing an immediate need in one or more of the following situations, when all other options have been exhausted:

  • Maintaining preschool places where a service is facing closure due to exceptional circumstances, for example, compulsory acquisition of premises.
  • For mobile preschools, where urgent and unexpected motor vehicle repairs are required in order to continue the operation of the mobile preschool service.
  • Providing access to the preschool to satisfy government accessibility requirements for preschools, where the capital works project enables an increase in preschool places.
  • Providing unique solutions for preschool provision in remote communities where access is limited or non-existent.

To be eligible to apply for a capital works grant to respond to a crisis situation, the applicant must:

  • Operate an approved centre-based or mobile preschool.
  • Provide proof of ownership of land, or an adequate lease period (minimum 10 years).
  • Note that new builds, extensions and relocations are eligible, and the department will pay relocation costs where required.

The requirement for applicants to provide a 5% contribution to the total project cost for crisis situations will be waived if necessary.

Application requirements

The application must include:

  • A project description.
  • Evidence of Service Approval or of obtaining Service Approval within the required timeframe.
  • Evidence of appropriate governance mechanisms and sound financial management.
  • A detailed project plan including timeline and quotes.
  • A detailed project budget, including applicant's contribution and additional sources of funding for the project.
  • Evidence of the demand for preschool places.
  • Projected increase in 600 hour preschool places and the service’s approved capacity.
  • Evidence of consultation with the local Aboriginal community.
  • Evidence that the service will use the grant to improve access to ‘equity children’ (Aboriginal children, children with disability or additional need, and children from low income families).
  • Evidence of site ownership or formal lease (if applicable).
  • Evidence that the applicant is able to proceed with the proposed capital works project on the site (if applicable).
  • Quotes for motor vehicle (if applicable).
  • Evidence of Provider Approval or of obtaining Provider Approval within the required timeframe.

Assessment of applications

The department will assess applications using the information provided to determine funding. Where required, the department may seek further information from applicants.

Applications will be assessed according to budget availability.

The department encourages applications describing capital works projects that:

  • Provide evidence of a demonstrated shortage of preschool places.
  • Will provide a substantial increase in 600 hour preschool places. A substantial increase is defined as a large increase in the number of approved community preschool places per day compared to the current service capacity.
  • Demonstrate value for money in terms of the cost per preschool place created.
  • Will improve the provision of a culturally safe and appropriate educational setting for Aboriginal children, informed by evidence of consultation with the local Aboriginal community.
  • Improve the provision of an appropriate education setting for ‘equity children’ (Aboriginal children, children with disability or additional need, and children from low income families).

Agreement

  • All applicants will be advised of the outcome of the application assessment process.
  • Successful applicants will be required to accept the Terms and Conditions to receive funding. Full expenditure of funding is a condition of this program, and services will be expected to perform financial and project acquittal.
    • Financial acquittals: Services may be audited annually to confirm the accuracy of data provided in their financial accountability statements.
    • Project acquittal will include regular reporting to the department.
  • The department applies security provisions to capital grants in order to protect the department's investment. This includes the requirement of evidence to support site security.

Contact details

Applications are open through SmartyGrants from 23 February until 27 April 2018. To assist services in the preparation of grant applications for this program, see the Application Guide.

For more information about the $5 Million Start Strong Capital Works Grants program, please contact:

Early Childhood Education Directorate
1300 755 426
capital.works@det.nsw.edu.au

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