CHANGE Weekly Bulletin 6th October
Learning from year one
Community engagement has been at the heart of all CHANGE activities in the first year of the project. By placing an emphasis on building relationships with people in the communities we’re working with, we hoped to gain a better and deeper understanding of their needs and aspirations for childcare. In doing so, we have listened to the perspectives of families around the issues that are important for them when accessing childcare in Glasgow East.
Availability & Information
Of the families we spoke to, 25% felt there was a need for more registered childcare places. Linked to this was a desire to be kept up to date on the status of applications for statutory early learning and childcare places and where children sit on the waiting list. The need for information about what is available was a recurring topic during conversations, with many parents citing a lack of accessible information as a barrier to accessing services. This included being unable to take up employment or further education because there was uncertainty around their childcare options.
Affordability & Accessibility
Many parents viewed access to affordable childcare as very important. However, with the prohibitive cost of private childcare and a perceived pressure on local authority early learning and childcare spaces, some parents experienced difficulty in accessing a service that worked for them financially. There was confusion surrounding Universal Credit and how this would impact on families with some stating that they were unsure of exactly how much they would be entitled to. In this regard, a transparency over the cost of a service would be helpful to families. An additional barrier to accessing services was transport, both in terms of how families could get to a service and the cost of doing so.
Relationships & Flexibility
The role of trusted professionals was incredibly important to families. Parents and carers spoken of existing services that provide non-judgemental support that helped build a sense of community. The presence and impact of these relationships in both the short- and long-term was invaluable and something that parents actively looked for in a service. One parent stated, “I want it to be my second home.” The benefits of socialisation for children and the opportunity to make friends were also mentioned during our conversations with families. There was some evidence of the negative impacts associated with a lack of flexibility of services. These included difficulties experienced when childcare places were not available during school holidays and services that parents stated did not meet the demands of family life. Parents who had varying shift patterns or who needed a place to help with a family emergency often found that services could not accommodate the flexibility they needed.
We’d love to hear what you think about what we’ve learned in year one of CHANGE. Please leave a comment below or use the contact form here.