Nottinghamshire County Council funded 22,000 hours of childcare for keyworkers over lockdown period
Nottinghamshire County Council supported dozens of local childcare providers, to ensure that critical workers and vital industries could continue during the school holiday period.
The Council approved the use of emergency funding at the Children and Young People’s Committee on the 15 June, for private, voluntary and independent childcare providers, so they could continue looking after children under five during a three-week period, including the Easter holidays.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, the government instructed all schools and childcare providers to remain open for only the most vulnerable children and those of critical workers. The government funded free entitlements for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds, but this did not cover school holiday periods, when many working parents usually take leave, or rely on family members to cover childcare, which wasn’t an option this year.
Nottinghamshire County Council allocated £300,000 to cover childcare over school holiday periods, including £84,000 to fund 22,000 hours of care over the Easter break, and more over the May half term, so that critical workers were able to continue their vital work.
370 children were cared for at 139 different locations across Nottinghamshire during this time. The majority of the children’s parents, 70%, worked in education, health or social care, with the largest group working in healthcare, many on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The County Council also helped find alternative childcare for 35 children, as some providers were not able to stay open during the school break.
Councillor Philip Owen, Children and Young people’s Committee Chairman said: “It is absolutely vital that we continue to support keyworkers and vulnerable children during this pandemic, by supporting critical services like social care and the NHS, who are saving lives, caring for our friends and family, and keeping important services going.
“I’m very happy that we were able to support childcare providers with financial help over the schools’ Easter break. Without this extra funding, many would have had to close, meaning key workers would not have been able to continue working.”
Laura Gapski, Director of Bright Sparks Nursery in Mansfield, said:
“This was welcome help for the sector. It allowed us to continue to support key worker parents during a critical time for them and their families.
“We are grateful to the council for recognising for the plight of the Early Years sector and securing this additional support for families on the front line. We look forward to further successful partnership working in Early Years as Nottinghamshire recovers from this pandemic.”