All local services providing childcare or play for children and young people need to be ‘here to stay’: funded on a long-term, secure basis, major four-year project finds
4 February 2021
The final report of a major Scottish childcare project makes a series of calls about how to improve childcare in local communities and through changes to national policy.
CHANGE (Childcare and Nurture, Glasgow East) was set up in 2016 to create a sustainable childcare model with family and community involvement at its core.
Work on the project involved gathering the views of children, parents and local services; setting up a Hub to strengthen local collaboration and challenge childcare barriers identified by families; championing community initiatives and the need for more universal family support; and supporting ‘crisis’ childcare and food provision.
Following four years of work, the project’s final report, ‘It’s our future’: Childcare in Glasgow East, makes a series of recommendations about how to improve childcare, including:
- All local services that provide childcare or play for children and young people need to be ‘here to stay’: funded on a long-term, secure basis
- The number of available childminders should be increased so that families have more choice about how and when their child is looked after
- Out of School Care services must be treated as a core service for it to be sustainable. This should include considering school and community buildings as everyone’s spaces
- More opportunities for families to play and learn together must be made available, with all food-related work funded to be part of the mainstream offer
- Parents and carers need childcare to enable them to attend emergency appointments and access public services
- Families need to be able to access information about childcare that is easy to find and understand. The childcare and family support available must be made easier to navigate for both families and practitioners.
CHANGE found in its project work that local people frequently expressed fatigue about previous interventions that have not improved their lives, and that local staff dealing with stretched resources were often exhausted.
CHANGE staff were also conscious of how issues of class and poverty associated with the project area have been consistently framed in negative terms.
The report calls for the many positive aspects of life in the East End of Glasgow to be celebrated and better understood.
Sally Cavers, Children in Scotland’s Head of Inclusion and CHANGE project lead, said:
“The CHANGE project has sought to address fundamental problems about childcare including fragmented provision, cost, and the need for real community ownership and empowerment. We hope that this report captures the complexity and challenge these issues have presented – but also how much commitment, positivity and expertise communities in Glasgow’s East End possess in answering these problems.
“In terms of improving childcare for families, we need to be focused on the qualities of kindness and dedication we found in the community, and recognise that locally and nationally, we are making progress in improving access to affordable quality childcare.
“However, culture change and real transformation is still required for local services, and huge societal pressures exist for families and services, even more so following a pandemic that represented one of the biggest challenges for generations.”
“As we state in the report, it is our hope that the essence of Glasgow’s East End, combined with effective local and national policy drivers and the possibility of post-pandemic transformation, will result in local community childcare and support services that can thrive.”
The CHANGE project follows work and key recommendations by the Commission for Childcare Reform, which published its findings in 2015.
Chris Small, email@example.com