Start Strong Capital Works Grants Program
The Start Strong Capital Works Grants Program improves access to preschool by creating additional community preschool places in areas of need and demand across the state.
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.
Eligible not-for-profit organisations can apply for grant funding to build, renovate or extend their facilities to deliver a community preschool, respond to a crisis situation, or to purchase a vehicle for a mobile preschool.
The Start Strong Capital Works Grants Program is one of many funded programs that the department is implementing to ensure that all children in NSW can participate in 600 hours of quality preschool education in the year before school, no matter where they live or what their circumstances are.
The Start Strong Capital Works Grants Program has been revised to improve the suitability and accessibility of the program for the community preschool sector. This includes four distinct grant categories with continuous, extended or multiple rounds, making it easier for community preschool providers to access the right funding option when it is needed.
Eligible not-for-profit organisations can apply for funding through the following funds:
- Major Capital Fund: undertake major capital works, including building, renovating or extending a centre-based community preschool.
- Crisis Fund: respond to a crisis situation with capital works where there is an immediate or urgent need.
- Minor Capital Fund: undertake minor works, including the small-scale renovation or extension of a centre-based community preschool.
- Mobile Fund: purchase replacement vehicles for existing mobile preschools.
How to apply
The Start Strong Capital Works Grants Program is open to eligible not-for-profit organisations, including but not limited to community preschool services, mobile preschool services and local councils.
Each fund has focused eligibility criteria and application requirements, which are detailed in the fund guidelines. The guidelines, supporting information and application links are available on the following pages:
Major Capital Fund: Applications for this fund are now closed.
Crisis Fund: Expressions of interest are open from 6 October 2021 until 30 June 2022.
Minor Capital Fund: Applications for this fund are now closed.
Mobile Fund: Applications for this fund are now closed.
600 hour enrolment – is an enrolment in an early childhood education program that is offered for at least 600 hours per year or 15 hours per week.
ACNC – the Australian Charities & Not-for-profits Commission is the regulatory body for charities and not for profit entities.
ARIA – the Accessibility and Remoteness Index of Australia which divides Australia into five classes of remoteness based on a measure of relative access to services. Remoteness Structure
Building Practitioner - the definition of a building practitioner is defined as the following in the Education and Care Services National regulations:
- (a) a person who is registered as a building surveyor, building inspector or draftsperson under a law of a participating jurisdiction; or
- (b) a person who is registered as an architect under a law of a participating jurisdiction; or
- (c) a person who is licensed as a surveyor under a law of a participating jurisdiction; or
- (d) a person who is licensed or registered as a building certifier under a law of a participating jurisdiction; or
- (e) a person who is accredited under a law of a participating jurisdiction to design buildings that will be used to provide education and care services.
Capital works – the term refers to construction related additions or improvements to an existing premises or new build construction activities. The capital works activity will either directly contribute to the delivery of a new preschool premises or to the expansion of an existing preschool premises.
Community preschool places – refers to community preschool places that your service makes available each day. The number of community preschool places cannot exceed your licenced capacity.
Equity children – Aboriginal children, children with a disability or additional needs, and children from low income families.
Funding Agreement – a legal document that confirms the terms and conditions of the grant award.
Grant Amount – the grant amount provided by the Department of Education.
Licensed places –the approved or licensed capacity of a service per day, as recorded on National Quality Agenda IT System (NQAITS).
Milestone – a milestone is a marker in a capital project that signifies a change or stage in development. For example ‘approval of development application’.
NQAITS – the National Quality Agenda IT System is an online administrative system for the implementation of the NQF.
NQF – the National Quality Framework, which sets out the minimum qualification and educator to child ratio requirements for children's education and care services.
ORIC – the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations is a regulatory body for Indigenous Corporations.
Other Sources of Funding – this may include other grants or donations from private or public entities, or in-kind services.
Plan – drawings of the proposed capital project prepared by a certified building practitioner.
Procurement – the process of obtaining a product or service to deliver the capital works project. For example, the process of deciding and selecting a contractor, builder or project manager for the design and construction of your project.
Provider – a provider is a registered not for profit entity with a registered PR number on NQAITS.
Provider Contribution – the provider must contribute at least 5% of the total project cost.
Security Instrument – a security instrument is a form of guarantee that provides security to the department against the value of the grant should the grantee in any way fail to complete the project or meet the terms and conditions of the funding agreement. This may involve third parties such as a landlord or local council depending on your circumstances.
SEIFA – the Socioeconomic Index for Areas Score that indicates how advantaged or disadvantaged areas are based on socioeconomic factors such as income, education, employment and skills/occupations. The lower the score or band, the more disadvantaged that area is SEIFA by Local Government Area (LGA).
Total Project Cost – is the total project expenditure amount. It includes the grant award, provider contribution and other sources funding.
Unencumbered Space – is floor space that is not encumbered by furnishings or fixtures. As detailed in the Education and Care Services National Regulations, unencumbered space determines the number of licenced preschool places a service may offer per day.
Links to assist you with your application
- Opening a new service
- Operating an early childhood education service
- Understanding the development assessment process in NSW
- Office of Local Government - Understanding Council Crown Land
For more information about the Start Strong Capital Works Grants Program, please contact:
Early Childhood Education Directorate
1800 619 113 (toll free)