Bristol freelance parents join forces for flexible childcare schemeNovember 11th, 2016
A group of freelance parents in Bristol are working with parenting community hub KudaCan in a bid to solve a huge childcare challenge.
One of the biggest obstacles for parents returning to freelance work after having a baby is lack of flexible childcare but this looks set to change thanks to a revolutionary new offer.
A collaboration between local mums Laura Williams and Isabel Kearney, Freelance Mum founder Faye Dicker and KudaCan owner Pegah Esmaili will see a pilot scheme launching at the Bishopston-based parenting community hub this winter.
Parents will be able to drop their young children off at the OFSTED-registered setting of KudaCan play cafe to be looked after by a team of childcare professionals for up to 3 hours, while they use hot desk space upstairs. The session, which will cost £25 in total, can be booked just a week in advance without any regular commitment required.
“When it came to returning to work after my son was born, I soon realised freelance work was going to be a real uphill struggle,” said Laura Williams, who works in journalism and marketing.
“Nurseries and childminders require a long-term commitment of set days with a month’s notice needed to change this. When your work doesn’t follow that pattern and you’ve got no guaranteed income to cover this it starts to get really tricky. With no family around to help me, I found myself unable to participate in building my business in the same way as those without children could; lack of flexible childcare left me inflexible with my work. I’m not alone in this, conversations with hundreds of women revealed similar challenges.”
The group, which first met after a Freelance Mum networking event in September, is now looking for freelance mums, dads and carers to sign up to the pilot, which if successful, could become a regular offer in Bristol. There are three potential dates for the pilot scheme – Friday 11th, Monday 21st and Friday 30th November – and it needs a minimum of 10 people to go ahead. If you’re interested in taking part in the pilot, please visit: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/JPS6SDN and join the ‘Bristol freelance parent hub’ on Facebook.
KudaCan founder Pegah Esmaili, a qualified Early Years Teacher herself with a post-graduate certificate in Early Years, said: “When I learned this was an issue for freelance parents in Bristol, I started thinking about how I could help. We’ve already got a popular KudaClub, which offers breakfast clubs, after school care and holiday clubs for older children and my staff are trained and experienced in looking after younger children too; I have space upstairs and wifi which people can use as a coworking space so it was really just about finding a time when we could combine the two into a freelance parent hub offer.”
Inspired by initiatives such as the #radicalchildcare campaign coming out of Impact Hub in Birmingham and Digital Mums’ #workthatworks campaign, the Bristol group is determined to find a solution to this problem.
Laura added: “The way people work is changing. The Monday-Friday 9-5 does not feature in the lives of many parents. Flexible work is becoming more common, yet the childcare system is yet to catch up. There are a few places offering ad-hoc childcare and coworking spaces in London and Brighton but as yet, there is nothing in Bristol and there really should be.”
She added: “We don’t yet know what the answer is, but we do know we have to try something and are very excited to be working with KudaCan on this pilot scheme – now we just need people to sign up to it and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
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