Start Strong 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 community preschool places in areas of need and demand.
The $6 Million Start Strong Capital Works Grants program aims to increase the number of 600 hour community preschool places available in areas of high need and demand.
Eligible services can apply for funding through this program to:
- Build a new centre based community preschool
- Extend an existing community preschool
- Renovate existing or new premises for a centre based community preschool
- Purchase a motor vehicles for a mobile preschool
- Respond to a crisis situation with a capital works project
Capital works grants will be awarded through a competitive application process. Applications will be open through SmartyGrants during 7 September – 2 November 2018.
To assist services in the preparation of grant applications for this program, see the Application Guide. The guide shows the types of information that could be included to support applications.
Applications for the Start Strong Capital Works program are open from 7 September – 2 November 2018
Service eligibility criteria
To be eligible to apply for the $6 Million Start Strong Capital Works Grants program, service providers must first :
- Hold, or have an application lodged to hold, or intend 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 have an application lodged 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).
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.
Centre based community preschools
Applications will need to demonstrate that the proposed capital works project for a centre based community preschool (including crisis situations) will meet the following requirements:
- The service must contribute at least 5% of the total project cost. Applicants must supply proof that the service can provide this contribution. This requirement may be waived for crisis situations if necessary.
- The capital works grant must not be used to fund the purchase of land (and the existing buildings on the land). Applicants will be asked to confirm this as part of the application.
- The department applies security provisions to capital grants for 10 years from the date that Funding Agreements are executed. The application must provide information related to proof of ownership of land or a lease for a minimum of 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. This requirement may be waived for crisis situations if necessary.
- For renovations, 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).
Applications will need to demonstrate that the purchase of a new motor vehicle for a mobile preschool will meet the following requirements:
- The applicant must operate an approved mobile preschool (centre based preschools are not eligible to apply in this category).
- The motor vehicle must be used primarily to deliver preschool education to approved mobile preschool venues.
- The motor vehicle must be fit for purpose and capable of transporting equipment to mobile venues and of operating safely in varying weather conditions.
- The motor vehicle must be registered in NSW.
- Note that one application per new vehicle is required.
The crisis situation category relates to capital works projects that increase community 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.
The requirement for applicants to provide a 5% contribution to the total project cost for crisis situations may be waived if necessary.
Applications by centre based preschools for the crisis situations category will also need to address requirements in these program guidelines for centre based preschools.
Applications by mobile preschools for the crisis situations category will also need to address requirements in these program guidelines for mobile preschools.
Requirements for all applications
Applications must include:
- Evidence of the demand for preschool places.
- Projected increase in 600 hour preschool places and the service’s approved capacity.
- A project description and detailed project plan including timeline.
- A detailed project budget, including applicant's contribution and additional sources of funding for the project.
- Three quotes detailing the cost of the capital works project.
- 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 that the applicant is ready to proceed with the proposed capital works project. For centre based preschools this includes proof of ownership of land or lease for a minimum of 10 years.
- Evidence of Provider Approval or of obtaining Provider Approval within the required timeframe.
- Evidence of Service Approval or of obtaining Service Approval within the required timeframe.
- Evidence of appropriate governance mechanisms and sound financial management.
Assessment of applications
Capital works grants will be awarded through a competitive application and assessment process. Where required, the department may seek further information from applicants.
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).
- Demonstrate readiness to proceed with the project, for example with a detailed project plan, timeline and proof of ownership or adequate lease period.
The assessment for crisis situation applications will include consideration of the extent to which the applicant describes an immediate need and that all other options have been exhausted.
The department will prioritise applications that are in areas of need and demand as part of the assessment. The department will refer to available data to determine priority areas, including population projections and Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) data.
Applications will be assessed according to budget availability.
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. The department applies security provisions to capital grants. The security could include a ‘security interest’ under the Personal Property Securities Act 2009, a real property mortgage or a third party guarantee. Any agreement to provide security will form part of the Funding Agreement.
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.
For more information about the $6 Million Start Strong Capital Works Grants program, please contact:
Early Childhood Education Directorate
1300 755 426