Recovery package in response to the Covid-19 pandemic

During our work with the early years sector throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it quickly became apparent that there would be far-reaching effects on the sector. We have recognised that the childcare market is unstable, and we have started to see the demands for childcare changing as the working patterns of families change. What is uncertain is whether the decrease in demand for places, putting many settings significantly below numbers typically expected, will be a short-term change or whether it will lead to a more permanent change in the way families choose to access childcare provision.

As a local authority we want to be able to support our early years sector; to ensure that you have the tools available to support you when you are reviewing your business model, reviewing the service that you are offering to families, and reviewing the future outlook of your provision to ensure that you are sustainable and remain financially viable in the long term.

The recovery package incorporates two elements, the business support for early years providers document and the early years recovery fund.

Business support for early years providers

The purpose of the business support for early years providers document is to help you to self-assess your business, identify those areas which are working well and to help identify any areas which may need to adapt and change to meet new demands. Many of the tools and prompts within the document will be familiar to you already but we have brought them together into one easily accessible document which starts with a simple business health check.

Once you have used the business health check to identify the areas of your business you would like to focus on, the document contains an easy to read contents page with links to further information to support the development of each area. This includes business plan templates, action plans, and marketing advice as well as links to up to date government guidance, financial and business support.

We would like to encourage all providers to engage with this document to support a detailed review of your business sustainability.

Please see the link to the business support for early years providers document at the bottom of the page.

The Early Years Commissioning Team can be contacted at if you would like any further support and guidance in working through the document.

Early years recovery fund

During summer 2020, we invited providers to take part in recovery conversations. We asked a wide range of questions to understand their business model and their confidence in the future of their provision. As a direct response to these conversations, we have secured grant funding specifically to support our statutory duty to ensure the sufficiency of high-quality early years provision with a particular focus on supporting providers in areas of deprivation and those supporting children eligible for funded early education for 2 year olds (FEET), early years pupil premium (EYPP) and those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

We are aware that with almost 600 group settings and 1200 childminders, we will not be able to support everyone who has lost financially as a result of the pandemic. Any award will be a contribution towards supporting the future sustainability of the early years sector.

Who can apply?

To apply, you must be;

  • Able to evidence that your financial position means that you will need to close or reduce places for early years funded entitlement
  • On the SCC directory of providers to deliver the funded entitlements for two, three and four year olds
  • Currently open – unless instructed to close by Public Health England
  • Able to evidence that you have delivered the funded entitlement to at least six children during the 2019/20 academic year

Please ensure that you are eligible to apply in accordance with the criteria set out

How do I apply?

  • For a copy of the Business Support for Early Years Providers document please email
  • Complete and return your application, ensuring that you provide all the required information. Failure to do so will delay the decision-making process.

Application submission information:

  • Opening date for applications Wednesday 11 November 2020
  • Closing date for applications Monday 8 February 2021
  • Panels will be held in January and February 2021