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Start up grants for early years and playwork businesses

If you're starting an early years or playwork business and can show there is a need and demand for your service, we may be able to give you a grant towards the costs in your first year.

What's the grant for?

The grant is to help you start up a new early years or playwork business in Surrey. Early years businesses include day nurseries, playgroups and pre schools. Playwork businesses include breakfast clubs, after school clubs and holiday playschemes.

You can use the money to help with the cost of setting up, staffing and running costs in your first year. But you can't use the grant to buy or make improvements to buildings or outside play areas.


Who can apply?

The grant is available to:

  • voluntary and charity groups.
  • private and independent providers.
  • schools (including those from the private sector).

Sorry, this grant isn't available for childminders or nannies (find out how to become a childminder), nor to daycare nursery chains. And it isn't available for specialist schemes such as theatre, craft making, computer or modern language clubs or sporting-related training organisations.


How to qualify

To qualify for the grant, you must be able to show us that the market research you have carried out yourself indicates a real demand for more childcare places where you plan to open your business. Our market research sheet (PDF) can help with this, and so can data from our Childcare sufficiency update and 2016 Audit of childcare reports.

You will need to be planning to open a service that will:

  • be open for at least five hours a day and no fewer than three days a week (five days a week for 'out of school' applications)
  • provide enough free entitlement childcare places for two, three and four year olds ('Out of school' schemes should offer places for any children at the school)
  • have a majority of well-qualified staff and a good knowledge of the EYFS
  • demonstrate an ability to run a business profitably and a sound grasp of current business practice.

We also expect you to show that you are putting some of your own money towards the business and are making use of commercial bank loans or other investment funds.

You'll need to show how your service will help provide several FEET funded two year old's places as well as the additional 15 hours of free childcare that will become available to qualifying families from September 2017. This is usually referred to as 30 hours per week of 'extended offer' childcare. (For details please follow the links).


How to apply

Just email childcarebusinessadvice@surreycc.gov.uk and we'll be in touch to arrange a meeting to talk through your plans and offer you practical support. Please remember that the process of setting up a childcare business can take as long as 9 to12 months even if you have premises in mind. We also offer practical advice about starting a business.

All applicants will be asked to attend a Panel to answer any questions about your plans, explain how you have carried out your research and show how this helps meet the need for 'extended offer' places. You will be told shortly afterwards whether you have been successful.

Panel dates for the financial year to 31 March 2018 are as follows:

  • 27 June 2017 (applications needed by 12 June) for settings planning to open September 2017
  • 18 September 2017 (applications needed by 4 September) for settings opening November 2017
  • 20 November 2017 (applications needed by 6 November) for settings opening January 2018
  • 29 January 2018 (applications needed by 15 January 2018) for settings opening April 2018

Surrey Commissioning & Prevention Service offers this grant. We may refuse your application and you may not get the amount you ask for. Our funds are limited and will stop when we have allocated all of the money.

Files available to download

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