The Department of Social Development has extended the deadline for applications of the Early Childhood Development – Employment Stimulus Relief Fund (ECD-ESRF) to 26 February 2021.

In addition, a new web-form (available in three other languages over and above English) to assist with the applications is available on the www.ecd.gov.za <http://www.ecd.gov.za/> website.

It will allow applicants to save and update their applications, as well as check their application status using their reference number.

The fund was established to assist ECD services recover from the loss of income brought on by COVID-19.

All types of ECD services (registered, conditionally registered or unregistered), including centre and non-centre based services, can apply for this relief funding.

Non-centre based services include play groups, toy libraries, child minders and mobile ECD programmes.

Furthermore, organisations that run, manage or oversee multiple centre and non-centre based ECD services may apply for more than one ECD programme and more than one type of ECD programme.

“As at 17 February 2021, there were a total of 16 114 applications received, with 74 525 ECD employees registered.

“As a further support mechanism, the department, in partnership with the DG-Murray Trust, has made available 135 non-governmental organisations and 2 236 Harambee youth (who are distributed throughout the country) to assist ECD services to apply,” the department said on Thursday.

The provincial Departments of Social Development, through their local offices, are also available to assist organisations.

Any ECD service that requires such assistance can visit their local Social Development office.

They can further send an email to ecdstimulus@dgmt.co.za <mailto:ecdstimulus@dgmt.co.za> or contact the call centre on 0800 089 666 and support will be provided.

“The department is encouraged by the response in the number of applications received to date and wishes to express its appreciation to the ECD sector and its partners in heeding the solidarity call to assist ECD services to access this much needed support.

“ECD services that have not yet applied are requested to do so by the extended closing date of 26 February 2021,” the department said.

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