Welcome to the second edition of 2020 of Nicma's 'Childminding Matters' 

Over the past months and weeks we have all experienced a difficult time, so as well as some useful information regarding COVID-19 we have also provided some helpful activities to keep us entertained and in routine though the coming weeks. We hope you are all well, and as always we are here if you need some assistance. 


​Dear All

I believe it's important to write to you at this difficult time to say thank you for your patience and understanding. The last month has seen many changes to the childcare sector which has and will continue to be very challenging for all of you, but I take heart in knowing when this extraordinary situation is over we will come back stronger than ever.

I would also like to pay tribute to the childminders who are playing their part in caring for the children of Key workers. Their help and support is not only amazing but invaluable, so on behalf of myself, NICMA and the people of Northern Ireland I thank you.

I also want to take this opportunity to let you know what I and my staff have been doing on your behalf over the last 14 days including evenings and weekends.

I have had a number of teleconferences and conversations with the Department of Health, Education and Communities. Others that we have worked with are Family Support NI and colleagues in the early years sector. I am in constant contact with a number of MLAS and MPS across the Parties to keep childminders and the services they provide high on their agendas.

I have also pointed out the extremely valuable contribution and dedication of all, ensuring that childminders are recognised for the vital service they have made before and during this extraordinary situation we find ourselves in. I am also lobbying and fighting for the rights of childminders as self-employed and ensuring they were included in any financial package. That work undoubtedly bore fruit when the Chancellor specifically mentioned Childminders as self-employed in his speech last week. We continue to lobby for financial help for the new childminders that have joined the sector since April 19.

I know that some of you are considering joining the UNITE union as is your right. But I and my staff will continue to work with the Departments, MLAS and the sector to ensure all Childminders in Northern Ireland have a voice.

I would also like to mention that this has also been a particularly difficult time for everyone, and we have been touched by the many kind and positive messages of support, greatly outweighed by the few negative comments. 

Finally I want again thank you and I pray that you, your families and the children you look after stay safe and well.



As many of you are aware, The Chancellor announced a new Self-employment Income Support Scheme to support self-employed people who have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

GOV.UK has further details about who is eligible for the scheme and how it will work. https://www.gov.uk/

 The Scheme could provide up to £2,500 a month (depending on tax and National Insurance)
  • HMRC will contact eligible customers at the beginning of June inviting them to apply; therefore there is no need for you to contact HMRC at this time.
  •  Self-employed cannot claim Statutory Sick Pay
  • If you are self-employed and self-isolating you can claim Universal Credit and/or New Style Employment & Support Allowance
  • If you are self-employed and have no work you can claim Universal Credit.

As well as Universal Credit you can also claim New Style Employment & Support Allowance if you have a health condition which makes you incapable of work.
  • To make an online claim to Universal Credit go to https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/universal-credit
  • To claim New Style Employment & Support Allowance you should phone: 0800 085 6318
  • Further advice regarding benefits, supports and services is available from Make The Call on: 0800 232 1271
  • With regard to specific advice from HMRC - there is an HMRC Helpline: 0800 0159 559

Once you claim Universal Credit, under normal circumstances it can take up to 5 weeks to receive a payment but you can claim an advance once your claim has been accepted. Employers for Childcare can also be contacted for advice and guidance of what you and your family can claim.
Helpline: 0800 028 3008


There has been a lot of queries around who is classed as a 'key worker'. We are advising that you follow the Department of Health's guidelines. If you are unsure please contact your local early years team and they will be more than happy to advise accordingly.



Although we are now staying indoors, it doesn't mean that we cant have some fun. A lot of celebrities and influencer's are offering some workout classes, music lessons and cooking session, for every age
 Just click the links below.  a7b56de2-d121-4f8a-8bb6-2316f8cecfd1.jpgThis is an unsure time for us all, many are feeling anxious, worried and afraid of what is to come with COVID-19. Just know that its okay to feel this way and you are not on your own! Why not try some mindful tips below, to calm those worrying voices.


Over one million children and parents/carers have joined Jamie on their Cosmic Kids YouTube Channel, with parents/careers reporting a significant improvement in the children mindset, focus, concentration and empathy. Why not see for yourself?