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“This project has made us all ask how we can support each other and do better”

12 November 2019

CHANGE is a project that has been working with communities in Glasgow East to develop childcare services in the area since 2017. The CHANGE Hub has been shortlisted for Most Inspiring or Innovative Project Award in the 2019 Quality Improvement Awards, with the winner announced tonight. Alison Hay, the project’s Senior Policy & Participation Officer, explains how the Hub has developed – and why it’s been such a success

The CHANGE area in Glasgow East has some of the lowest numbers of registered childcare places in Glasgow and Scotland, particularly for out of school care and Childminding. This serves to disadvantage children and families from accessing the social and economic benefits of quality childcare, which include employment and supporting access to quality services for all children.

As part of the CHANGE: Childcare and Nurture Glasgow East project, amodel to improve collaboration across services that support children and families was considered to be important. But this new model would have to work in a different way to enable change that would ‘stick’ in the community. Following an engagement process with families to understand the barriers and challenges they faced in accessing childcare and family support, it was decided that a hub of services would be established.

The CHANGE Hub’s purpose is to lead change at a local level, addressing the barriers that families told the project they have experienced when trying to access childcare. These include prohibitive costs of childcare, lack of flexibility of hours, being unable access to information easily locally and feelings of isolation.

In March 2018 the first CHANGE Hub meeting took place in TICTACS Afterschool in St Serf’s Church in Shettleston with a cross-sector membership of 10 individuals representing seven organisations.

The Hub’s journey to sustainability has not been a straightforward one. It was important that relationships were formed first to enable people to understand its purpose, but attendance was irregular. This pattern continued for three meetings, which was challenging as we were constantly going over the same ground rather than developing and testing ideas. From the outset we had put the improvement methodology supported by the Children and Young People’s Improvement Collaborative into practice.

Different types of meeting format had to be tested before consistency in membership began to be established. However, the most successful has been borrowed from the seven-step meeting process. This kept the meetings focused on developing the actions that members wanted to take forward into the community in their working groups.

Collectively the membership developed a ‘driver diagram’ which focused the improvement work by providing consistent, regular data-driven summaries on where the progress was at in relation to the secondary drivers and associated measures of impact.

One of our stakeholders said: “It has made a huge difference. It’s got all of us talking. All our services have been cut – health, education, social work – so our frontline workers are really under pressure and really busy. So, you don’t have time within the school / working day to raise your head and think ‘what can we do?’ We struggle and scrabble about for people. The CHANGE project was then introduced, and it meant people saying to each other, ‘what do you do?’ and asking, ‘how could we do that better?”

We now have 37 individuals representing 26 organisations. Our achievements to date include:

  • Sharing of knowledge and good practice across partners to make the pathway to accessing information more accessible.
  • Development of a low-cost quality food template identifying existing community resources to enhance the opportunity for local people and communities such as schools and out of school care (OOSC) to collaborate in innovative ways to increase access to affordable quality food for families. Approximately 40 children have accessed the food and community growing initiative so far.
  • Developing resilience. This resulted in increasing uptake of holiday provision from five to 90 families using a model of family support which focuses on children’s mental health, well-being and resilience within a whole school and community approach.
  • Working with key contributors at a community and strategic level to develop a range of deliverable family supports in the provision of a childcare service designed to respond to families at the right time to enable them to access the wider support they need.
  • Collaborating to increase childminding and OOSC provision in the area.
  • Formal and informal family champions who have faced barriers themselves and a commitment to driving change forward using their experiences.

The CHANGE Hub members are delighted to be finalists in the Children and Young People's Improvement Collaborative Quality Award category of Most Inspiring or Innovative Project.

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