The CHANGE: Childcare and Nurture Glasgow East project aims to support families with children between 0-12 so they can tell us what they want and need from childcare services and have easier access to childcare.

We believe that people are the experts in their own lives, and that we need to hear from parents and people in the community to find out what works well, what makes things difficult and what we can do to make it easier.

We’ve talked to parents, carers and children and have focused on going to where people are to talk about childcare services.

We have spoken to 69 parents (this includes carers) and 30 children and young people. Most of the parents and carers we’ve spoken to have been female and aged between 20 and 35.

Here is what people said:

Many parents said they do not currently have access to childcare that would allow them to do other things. Families said an increase in registered childcare places would be their top priority.

Parents said they were not aware of when they could expect to hear if their child had a place at nursery (for 3- and 4-year-olds), and asked for more information on how this works. One suggestion was:

Status updates from the nursery would be very helpful, and with information on how to appeal if you don’t get a place”.

Parents talked about the fact that there are very few out of school care places in the area. They talked about how it is difficult to make a decision about a college course when you don’t know if you will have childcare in place to let you study.

Families spoke to us about really appreciating the childcare they have and the staff who work there.

Childcare that could be used for different number of hours per week and include the school holidays was mentioned. Parents who work shifts that change every week said they need childcare for this.

Families talked about not having any childcare when they have an emergency, such as a family member who looked after their child being ill or on holiday. Parents said they would like to be able to use services sometimes and not always weekly.

Families said they like nurseries to be open early (before 8.30am was mentioned) and until after 6pm.

Many parents highlighted that single parents did not have a network to fall back on.

Childcare over the holidays with the option of spreading nursery hours over the year was something several parents felt strongly would help them.

Parents talked about the impact the closure of Parkhead and Bridgeton Job Centres may have on them. To get to appointments now might mean they miss the school start or collection time.

Access to affordable childcare is essential for families.

Families said they also need advice about their options on paying for childcare, to allow them to plan.

Some parents said they would like it to be clear why different payment levels for council nurseries are in place.

Parents said a ‘one stop shop’ or ‘hub’ with information about childcare would make it much easier. This would help families to plan, particularly when it comes to looking for work.

Some online sources of information were mentioned as being very helpful, including the Glasgow Family Information Service, Netmums and, most frequently, search engines.

Some families preferred the idea of going to someone they knew and trusted, including health visitors, teachers, and community staff.

One idea suggested was an information pack from the health visitor including information on what childcare is available, what to look for (e.g. accreditation for childminders, what the average costs are and when you should apply for a place).

Parents suggested schools could provide information to families who have older children.

Some families said they would like newsletters that included information about childcare but that language accessibility must be thought about.

Families said they ‘don’t know what they don’t know’, and are often confused by the amount of information they get. They said when it comes to childcare they “don’t know where to start”.

Some parents said they were lucky because they knew a teacher, staff member from a nursery or welfare advisor personally who kept them informed.

Families talked about key people in the community such as head teachers who work very well with other services.

Trusted professionals are very important. People who have moved into the new social housing in the Athlete’s Village said they are in better homes but their family and friends are now on the other side of the city. This has had a knock-on effect on childcare.

Many parents highlighted the importance of families from other communities and ethnicities coming together in services and feeling more like a community.

Families said trusted support and advice on things that are happening in families’ lives are what builds a sense of community.

Families said the key things they want out of childcare are for their children to be happy and safe, and to have the chance to socialise. This was important for children with no brothers or sisters, or where English was not the first language of the house.

Transport was raised as an important issue; some parents said that the only possible childcare places were two bus journeys away, leading to long and expensive travel time. They can then not do other things during this time.

There are projects and services operating in the area that are not registered childcare but are relied on and enjoyed by families. This includes youth groups and play clubs providing a wide range of activities for children.

We talked to children at Dalmarnock Primary School’s Summer Club about what an out of school club is, and asked children and young people to design their dream out of school care.

The opportunity to be outside came up as being important to children and young people.

Young people said that who was there mattered just as much as the activities they could take part in.

Sport was a key area. Football and gymnastics were mentioned and they said coaching was very valued.

Many children were looking to learn more about how to draw and paint, and be given the resources for this.

Next steps for CHANGE

There were lots of good things said about what is in the project and lots of suggestions for what could make it easier for families. We are taking what we’ve heard and working to do what we can to support things getting better and there being more childcare places.