The manager of a childcare facility in Kesh has said if she had not raised her prices earlier this year, the service would be closed. She worries that it could still go that way. 

“Our biggest struggle is keeping the place afloat, making sure all the bills are paid, making sure staff are paid. Since Covid that has been the struggle," says Karen Braund-Law.

“Now it is the cost of living, the minimum wage increase has been a huge thing, I know I will feel it in April when wages go out.”

READ MORE: EA funding not covering wages in Fermanagh playgroup

She, like others, is worried about the sustainability of the Glendurragh Childcare Services.

“There is a risk of closure. At Christmas, we really juggled to get the bills paid.”

Like others working in the childcare sector across Fermanagh, Mrs Braund-Law loves her job, she enjoys working with children and the team.

“The parents, the children and the staff are no problem, the most stressful part of my job is the money. An average monthly bill for parents could be anywhere between £1,500 to £2,000. If we didn’t do that, we’d be closed.

“We don’t have PEG [funded places from the Education Authority] space here, as the local school nursery has that.

“We solely rely on parental fees coming in to operate.”

READ MORE:Fermanagh pre school reduces places to manage staff costs

On the need for help from the Northern Ireland Executive, Karen says: “I don’t know where the money would come from, it was fantastic during Covid, every day care had money based on what needs they had.

"I don’t know what model they could introduce to us but I think they could help parents out with a model for getting free childcare. There has to be a way.”

READ MORE: Irvinestown childcare provider on navigating cost challenges

Tracey Kerr, a director for the organisation, sees the financial problems of the sector as both a parent and a director.

“We are in a horrible position, we want to keep the place open and we have to put up the fees. We know people can’t afford it.

“We all have children in the directors and know people are struggling to find thousands of pounds for childcare.”