Education Minister John O’Dowd has confirmed that the new Pathway Fund will be delivered by Early Years – the Organisation for Young Children (EYO).
The Pathway Fund will replace the current Early Years Fund and will be open to a significantly wider pool of applicants than the Early Years Fund.
Speaking today, Minister O’Dowd said: “I congratulate Early Years – the Organisation for Young Children on being awarded the contract to deliver the Pathway Fund. This new fund will be aligned to my department’s key priorities, will focus on areas of disadvantage and will be open to any voluntary or community provider of early years’ education.”
The current Early Years Fund, which was set up in 2004, remained effectively closed since its initial set up. This perpetuated a situation that rarely allowed for new entrants to access the fund. The fund is due to end in its current format on 31 March 2016 but some funding may be available for a further short period for groups that do not qualify for Pathway funding.
In conclusion, the Minister said: “My Department will now work with EYO to establish the arrangements for the Pathway Fund so that awards can be made from April 2016.
“The organisation will engage directly at an early opportunity with those in the sector to provide information about the fund and the application process. “I wish all those involved well for the future.”