Childcare Connect Launch
20/04/2020
Childcare Connect Launch
Childcare Connect - Don't Just Clap Give Back
New Community Childcare Service to Help Parents Get Back to Work

Childcare Connect is a new, not-for-profit community childcare and virtual education service, which will enable key workers to source childcare as well as assist those parents preparing to return to work once social distancing measures begin to be lifted.

Childcare is an essential support service already in short supply for our NHS and key workers, an estimated 25% of NHS hours are lost as a result of childcare restrictions, and as we slowly emerge from lockdown it will be vital for getting the rest of the country back to work. Traditional support mechanisms like Grandparents will not be available due to the ongoing risk the Coronavirus presents to this vulnerable group and with schools possibly closed or offering only limited provision for several months, new solutions are required.

Launching today, the new Childcare Connect service will tap into the resurgence in community spirit by providing a network for parents to connect with qualified carers, fellow parents and students offering childcare services for individual or small group care.

The safety of children is paramount and all of those who register will be asked to submit/apply for a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. To provide parents with more detailed and personal insight to help them make informed decisions, a 'social qualifying' programme will also be introduced. Registering carers will be asked to share recommendations via the Childcare Connect Facebook page from peers, family members and a child they have looked after previously, which can then be ratified by the prospective parent via a direct contact. The use of digital technology will also be encouraged using video interviews and monitoring. In addition, should the government introduce Corona Free certification, for those that have suffered from the virus and are therefore likely to have built up some kind of immunity, the Childcare Connect database has been designed to share this information to offer additional reassurance. To support this Childcare Connect will be lobbying the government to raise the priority of antibody testing for the network of child carers so they are able to support people as they return to work and help rebuild the economy.

Local Leaders – Don't just clap give back
To ensure the effective and more personal management of the Childcare Connect service, rather than provide a centralised service the organisation is recruiting 'Community Leads" to take responsibility for mobilising their local child carer community. Childcare Connect will provide the tools such as the website, carer database, operational framework, and advice, as well as conduct government lobbying. While the local leaders will be helped to set up Facebook and WhatsApp groups of people willing to donate childcare services, either in their own homes or by traveling to key workers' homes.

Ruth Hilton, Co-founder of Childcare Connect, commented:
"We have seen so many inspiring people step forward to help during the Corona Crisis and every week the whole country unites in stepping out to #ClapForTheNHS. As we emerge from lockdown and try to adjust to the new 'normal' we need to embrace this wonderful community spirit and take it to the next level. Like many people, I have been placed on furlough by my travel business employer and it is difficult to say when working life will resume, but what I can do now is help other parents who need support as they venture back into the working world. I am throwing myself into mobilising a 'People's Army' to offer practical assistance to get the country back on its feet. Child carers are the 'hidden' key workers and over the coming months will play a more crucial role than ever before, so we are asking carers, parents and students - don't' just clap, give back, support families across the country and become a child carer."

Virtual Education
As well as physical childcare, Childcare Connect is seeking to recruit university and sixth-form student volunteers to provide assisted learning and video-based education to help with home schooling. The site will provide tools and recommendations on how to use video conferencing tools like Google Hangouts, Zoom and skype.

Crowd Funding
As a non-for-profit organisation, Childcare Connect has launched a crowd fund-funding project, offering the public the opportunity to donate childcare hours to key workers and to raise £10,000 to develop the carer database on its website. Providing a bookable service with nested diaries to ensure the checking of availability and booking process is simple and flexible for parents. To support visit
https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/childcareconnect-1

If you are interested in signing up for Childcare Connect as a community leader, carer, or parent, please go to the www.childcareconnect.co.uk or Facebook/childcareconnect.co.uk.

Requests from key workers looking for childcare support will be prioritised.
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For media enquiries please contact Ruth Hilton:
Tel: 02045 069049
Email: ruth.hilton@childcareconnect.co.uk

NOTES FOR EDITORS:
Childcare Connect has been established by travel industry professionals and parents Ruth Hilton, Jane Williams and Steve Endacott. Long-standing travel and tourism industry colleagues they each have extensive experience of managing businesses from tour operators, corporate and private equity investment to SME businesses.