Anthony O’Malley has now joined the CHANGE team as project officer. Anthony’s background is in frontline childcare and prior to joining our project team his entire career has been devoted to out of school care in the east end of Glasgow. Here are some of his thoughts on childcare in the east end and the work of the CHANGE project:
“Having worked with children and families in the east end of Glasgow for 17 years, I have witnessed first-hand the many changes – some positive and some not – that have taken place to childcare in the area during this time. I have experience of every job role in out of school care from support worker up to manager. Before joining the CHANGE team I was deputy manager of a 50 place out of school care in the east end of Glasgow. I have covered almost every aspect of the frontline childcare worker’s role. This includes everything from sports programmes and arts and crafts activities through to managerial level, where child protection and helping families with serious personal difficulties become part of the remit. Stepping away from this frontline work is, in many ways, similar to a plumber or a builder taking an office job. In effect I am ‘coming off the tools’ as the saying goes.
However, when I first heard about CHANGE, and what it was trying to achieve, I knew that this was something I wanted to be involved with. Often when people hear the word change they fear the worst. This is possibly more common in communities, such as Glasgow East, who are used to having stuff done ‘to’ them and not ‘with them’. Childcare providers and the families they serve are included in this group, as are people who don’t use childcare services. From my first contact with the project team I knew that CHANGE would be different. This is a project that is as much about community engagement as it is community improvement. CHANGE will give people from Calton/Bridgeton, Parkhead/Dalmarnock and Tollcross/West Shettleston an opportunity to voice their opinions on what they want from childcare in their area.
Working in partnership with Glasgow City Council, Thriving Places and Glasgow Centre for Population Health, I believe that this project will make a hugely positive contribution to childcare in the area. Here’s why I think that is. While a great deal of ‘change’ has been delivered in Glasgow East in terms of childcare, this has almost always been as part of a national strategy. CHANGE is focused solely on the communities mentioned, and the childcare providers and families within them. It will be their views and their opinions that will help to shape the future of childcare provision in the area. As someone with almost two decades of frontline childcare experience behind me, I don’t think there’s ever been an opportunity like this before. If we make the most of it then we really can bring about positive and long lasting improvements that will benefit everyone living and working in the project area.”
Anthony is based within Glasgow Centre for Population Health in the Olympia building at Bridgeton Cross from Tuesday to Friday each week. If you would like to speak to him about childcare in Glasgow East then please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 07414 610 096