Burngreave Messenger.
Issue 40 April 2004

Not Enough Childcare

by Kate Atkinson

Blurred picture of children.

Mothers who have spoken out about difficulties they face in finding and paying for childcare in Burngreave have been acknowledged, in part, by the creation of the Burngreave Childcare steering group.

A Burngreave mother (who withheld her identity as she feared limiting her options even further) told me: “Basically, there are not enough childminders and the few that there are have limited places and are unable to offer a flexible service.”

The steering group aims to sustain and develop existing and new childcare provisions. Sally Penn, from Burngreave Surestart and a member of the steering group said: “The idea is to raise the profile of childcare and see if it meets the needs of the community, and we believe at this point in time it doesn’t.”

In addition to difficulties in finding places for their children, mothers have told me of the expense of childcare: “One childminder had a reasonable fee but had so many other charges for picking up, having lunch, dropping off etc, it nearly doubled the fee. Another justified charging a lot by saying parents can claim back on Working Families Tax Credit. But not all parents can, especially those who have no income in the first place!”

The steering group aims to ensure existing childcare providers work together and are not in competition. They have established a network between the Black Women’s Resource Centre, Ellesmere Children’s Centre and the Yemeni Community Association, organisations who also receive funding from Burngreave New Deal for Communities (BNDfC), where fees are standardised and subsidised so parents can choose which service is better for their child rather than which is cheapest.

Another Burngreave mother, Sioned-Mair Richards, pointed out the difficulties that childminders themselves face with finances: “There is a terrible dichotomy between parents finding it expensive and the fact that childminders are paid a pittance – it’s below minimum wage. I think there ought to be some sort of state top-up for child minders so that they have a reasonable basic wage.”

Tanya Bailey, a single parent who has just started work, told me how she has looked everywhere, but cannot find childcare at weekends. “I’m really stuck. I haven’t worked before. It means a lot to me to get a job and then I can’t find any childcare. It doesn’t give single parents like me much encouragement to find work.”

Chair of BNDfC Partnership Board, Rose Ardron said: “We are very aware that for many in the area, childcare is a huge barrier to access to learning, training and employment and wider opportunities. We are determined, as a Board, to address this over the coming year.”
BNDfC’s early ideas to address the immediate need for childcare in Burngreave include a mobile crèche and childcare vouchers for parents entering employment, training and education.

However, parents also need childcare before they enter training and employment, to increase self-esteem and allow them time to socialise and build confidence to prepare them for making changes to their lives.


Childcare provision

Ellesmere Out of School Project (EOSP)
Byron Wood School
Open: 3–5.45pm every school day
Age: 4–11 years
Charge: £2.50 per session (includes snack tea), £1 for second child, 50p subsidised
Booking/info: Teresa 261 7518


Burngreave Out of School Club
(combines with EOSP for Holiday Playcare)
Firshill School
Open: 3–6pm after school, 8.30–6pm in school hols
Age: two clubs: infant 4+, Junior 8–13
Also 3 places for special need children
Charge: £5 per night after school, £10 a day in school hols, subsidises for low incomes
Booking/info: Cathy 256 0989


Yemeni Association Crèche
68 Burngreave Road
Open: 9am–1pm and 1–4pm
Age: 6 months–5 years
Charge: free if training in Burngreave, sliding scale fee otherwise
Booking/info: Abitisam 256 0933


Black Women’s Resource Centre Children’s Project
72 Burngreave Road
Open: 8am–6pm Monday to Friday
Age: 6 months–41¼2 years
Charge: depends on family’s circumstances
Booking/info: Sharon Brown 275 1817


Ellesmere Children’s Centre
4 Maxwell Street
Open: 8am–6pm every day except bank holidays
Age: 6 months–5 years
Charge: on a sliding scale
Booking/info: Sharon Curtis 281 2143


Burngreave Young Children’s Centre
Open: 8.45am–4.15pm
Age: 2–5 years
Charge: depends on family’s circumstances
Booking/info: Operating a waiting list. Call 203 9439 or call in for an application form.


For a list of registered childcare providers, call the Children’s Information Service on 275 6699


Organisations that provide childcare with their courses and training:


MAMA – East African Women’s Group
91 Spital Hill
275 2955


193 Verdon Street, S3 9QQ
278 6414

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Index for Issue 39 March 2004.