Freedom Childcare Supporting REACH

Freedom Childcare have been supporting a charity called REACH with their event childcare needs for the past 8 years. This event is a full day of activities and trips for 120 children from babies through to teenagers. Throughout the day we will provide Creches for Babies , Toddlers and pre-school children who will take part in free play in 3 large rooms where our large creche kit will be laid out for the children to access.

        Child care Creche fun Childcare Creche fun - witch

They will also have the opportunity to take part in a Animal mask making craft activity and also a music and movement session. Slightly  older children will take part in Workshops this year we have crafts which are our Craft bags that can be seen in the short video, Magic and a Drama workshop called this is ME!

In addition to the creche rooms and workshops we have a coach full of children going on a trip and a smaller group going on a Football workshop.

The children are collected by parents just after lunch and are returned again for the evening where again we have creche rooms  however they are set up as a quiet/ sleeping room with low key activities for the less sleepy children. We have Activity Rooms for all the other children that includes a disco, games consoles, giant crafts (see the dragon and Allan the alien), photo booth, board games and  DVD room the children are allowed to free flow between to rooms – we even have giant skittles and Air Hockey for the teenagers this year.

Creche decorated Alan Creche dragon

This event is such an amazing pleasure to be part of and each year we have grown the offering and developed better procedures and best practices to streamline to signing in to the various rooms.

Freedom have top capacity to run event child care anywhere in the UK and can also provide babysitters and nannies for individual families that are attending events. We are looking forward to working with Portsmouth University next year and supporting delegates to their academic conferences with creches and our nanny and babysitting services.

This year we also had the pleasure of providing event childcare in Surrey at the Shinnyo-en U.K. (UK Buddhist Headquarters). This is what they thought of us:

“We contracted the services of Freedom Childcare for a big event we held at our centre in June this year.

Our needs were quite complex, as we had many children who spoke no English and we required flexibility in how long that the each child would attend the crèche due to the event’s programme. We also had wide age range of children in the group; from a few months old to 13 years old.

Fran and her team were extremely professional and met all our needs by providing several staff who spoke languages of our children, offering a sign in-out service allowing parents to use the crèche whenever and however long they required throughout the day. They also provided a youth worker to provide fun activities to many of the pre-teens, which was truly appreciated. There were such a wide range of activities that were available to cater for all age groups on the day, which impressed our children as well as our parents.

It was our first time to offer a professional childcare service to parents at one of our events but we have received many positive compliments from all those used the service. We do wish to be able to work with the Freedom Childcare again when we next hold such events in the future at our centre and would highly recommend their services. I’m happy to answer any questions regarding our experience with the Freedom Childcare. They did help tremendously in making our event run as smoothly as it could.”

Photos: two Marriott staff getting into the swing of things, Allan, Spooky sports day (workshop for REACH 2017) Doreen the dragon large sticker activity.

Childcare Choices

Choosing the right childcare is a very complex issue, with many options available all offering various benefits and values for money. These complexities are magnified when dealing with children who may have special needs, dietary requirements or behavioural issues. Selecting the best combinations is an important decision and crucial to the smooth running of family life. Families expand, parents separate, while work and children’s schedules become increasingly more complex. All this can add to the stress of being a parent in the 21st century!

Childcare Backup

Childcare choices - nanny

While it is the parent(s) who are required to address issues surrounding core childcare needs, we can assist by providing back-up cover for eventualities such as: evenings, weekends,  shift patterns, school closure days, staff sickness, child sickness, extra working hours, training days, exclusion days due to sickness or just some well-deserved respite. Day care is often inflexible and is traditionally booked in blocks. Childcare costs should only be incurred where and when it is genuinely required and not just because it has to be booked and paid for in advance, whether your child attends or not!

Nannies

Home based childcare is not always an option considered by many families although in many cases it can be the most viable and cost effective option. Nannies are paid for by the hour/ day/ week and this is for the nannies services not per child. In households with more than two children this can therefore be a cheaper option than day care.

Nannies are also able to facilitate dropping off and collection of older siblings to school and out of school activities. This can buy back more of your precious time each day. Nannies duties may also include any household chores directly linked to the care of the children such as cleaning their rooms, changing beds, washing ironing food preparation etc.

Historically employing a nanny has been viewed as being a luxury only available for the very wealthy; the face of childcare is changing and now as a result of OFSTED regulations allowing nannies to become voluntarily registered. Flexible nanny services can be obtained from Freedom which also means you would not need to get involved with employment issues and can access services to fit your changing needs.

Nanny Recruitment

If required, Freedom Childcare can also help your family recruit a nanny. Our standard strict vetting and recruitment procedures are applied and you are introduced to Nanny’s who meet your unique needs and requirements. We can then provide you with back up cover for sickness and holidays. We can also provide your Nanny with ongoing training and development opportunities ensuring they are kept abreast of current information and ensuring that their mandatory  training is regularly updated.

Family and Home Support

We have been assisting parents with their childcare needs since 2001. To ensure we can really understand your family and your childcare needs we meet all our families face to face in their own homes. This can be organised at a time to fit around your busy schedule. This unique service ensures we can gather all the information we need to accurately match our staff with your family, resulting in successful pairing.

Whilst mostly rewarding, parenting can be a difficult and exhausting job and  parents could benefit from support from time to time! All families are different and we don’t have a one size fits all solution; however we will work with your family to achieve the best possible outcomes. Our help is designed to give families the support they need before issues can spiral out of control.

Support Services

Our services can be provided privately or after receiving referrals from the local authority.

The following although not an exhaustive list gives you some examples of the type of help we can offer:

  • Routines
  • Boundaries
  • Schedules for household chores
  • Respite
  • Behaviour strategies
  • Parenting skills
  • Child development knowledge
  • Budgeting
  • Health and hygiene
  • Home Organisation/Functionality
  • Social awareness
  • Accessing meaningful pastimes for all family members

All parents can receive help with the cost of their childcare. This can be through salary sacrifice vouchers or Child Tax Credits, creating up to 80% reduction in the cost of your childcare.  With the introduction tax free childcare which is being introduced in autumn 2015 further savings will be possible.

Home based childcare is now a viable option for families from all financial backgrounds and can in many cases be the best solution.

The Tax Credit Help Line – 08453 003900 – will be able to advise you on you eligibility, and the Government website has advice and information on how to get help with childcare costs.

Freedom can be contacted by phone: 08453 300403, email: enquiries@freedomchildcare.com or visit the Childcare section on our website.

 

Childcare Voucher Scheme Closing to New Entrants

With just two months before the Childcare Voucher scheme is set to close to new entrants, opposition MPs in Parliament have signed up to support keeping it open – your voice is being heard!

Clildcare voucher scheme closingAn Early-Day Motion, stating the government should not close the scheme without a proper analysis of the winners and losers, calls for MPs to have the opportunity to debate and vote on the proposed changes in Parliament before they are fully implemented.

As you know, the Childcare Voucher scheme is due to close to new entrants on 4th October 2018. Many ordinary working families stand to lose out if Childcare Vouchers close to new entrants and time is running out.

Here’s how you can make a difference and Keep Childcare Vouchers open:

  • Contact your local MP. The delayed closure of the scheme in March shows the difference people can make. Contact your MP on behalf of your business and ask them to put pressure on the government to keep Childcare Vouchers open – its free, easy to do, and takes less than five minutes. Just visit www.theyworkforyou.com, enter your postcode to find out who represents you, and click on the green “Send a message” button to contact them.
  • Share this campaign with your networks. Encourage parents who use your services as well as staff and colleagues to write to their MP. As the deadline to join the scheme approaches, they may lose out unless the government keeps it open.
  • Share this campaign on social media. Use Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to demonstrate your support for the #SaveChildcareVouchers campaign and follow @Save_CCV for important news and updates on the campaign.

Click here to find out more about the campaign to #SaveChildcareVouchers and how you can help spread the word.

Get the Kids Off Their Phones and into the Garden

How gardening can help you feel good

While a bit of weeding and pruning might not seem like the most energetic of activities, studies show that gardening goes beyond providing a good workout, as it can also be therapeutic and reduce anxiety as well as physical pain.

Research has shown that prolonged light exercise, such as gardening, can burn more calories than a gym session, in spite of feeling much easier to do. This physical exercise, in combination with spending time outdoors being creative and productive, can also improve mood and self-esteem. Amazingly, images and recordings of natural environments alone have been proven to reduce feelings of pain and even improve healing times in hospital wards.

The therapeutic value of gardening is becoming more and more recognised, according to the Royal Horticultural Society, which promoted the positive impact of horticulture and green spaces at the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show, with two Chelsea gardens pledged to NHS patients.

Garden tweaks to improve wellbeing

Aside from green-fingered tasks, there a few tweaks that can make your outdoor space reach its full wellbeing potential:

  • Create space to sit in
    It’s really important to find a place in your garden to enjoy its beauty and serenity. You can choose garden furniture to reflect your taste, making it an elegant and useful part of your living space. Whether it’s with al-fresco meals at a dining set, basking in the glorious sun on a lounger or enjoying some tranquillity with a good book on an outdoor sofa, take the time to relax in your outdoor space.
  • Grow from seed
    Grow plants from seed either on your own or as a fun way to get children to experience the joys of gardening. The enjoyment you get is timeless, and people of all ages will not grow tired of seeing their seedlings germinate and then grow on in the garden.
  • Try your hand at growing fruit and veg
    There’s nothing more exciting and rewarding than nurturing tasty fruit and vegetables to put on the kitchen table. Buying vegetable seeds and planting them with your children is an affordable and easy activity for the school holidays and teaches them how food is grown.
  • Fill your garden with plants that welcome wildlife
    By growing flora that attracts bees and butterflies, your garden will become a hive of activity. Plants from the Lamiaceae family, including lavender, rosemary and sage are best as they’re also low maintenance and easy to keep.

For more useful advice, have a look at these handy tips on creating a feel-good garden from RHS award-winning designer Matt Keightley.

The health benefits

Whether you have a lifetime of gardening experience or are just getting started, we’ve created a handy visual guide. From the physical health benefits to improved mental wellbeing, our guide covers the benefits of outdoor living across all age groups.

”Kettler

Research Project with Creches and Childcare Professionals

Freedom are providing support for this invaluable research with creches and childcare professionals. We are trying to help the project by informing families in Portsmouth and Southampton about the milestones this project requires.

Please also feel free to call us on 0800 0851444 if you have any questions.

Research with creches and childcare professionals

Childcare Vouchers Scheme to be Extended

Scheme Extended by 6 Months

Plans to end the Government’s Childcare Vouchers scheme will be delayed by six months, ministers have announced.

Childcare Vouchers scheme The scheme – which is operated through employers and allows you to pay for childcare from your pre-tax salary – was supposed to close to new entrants on 5 April this year.

But in a debate in the House of Commons yesterday, Education Secretary Damian Hinds made the concession to extend the scheme by six months.

Childcare vouchers are being replaced by an alternative system called Tax-Free Childcare, but this scheme has suffered a succession of problems, including website issues.

The exact date on which the Childcare Vouchers scheme will now close to new applicants has not been announced yet, but it’s expected it’ll be around October.

For full info on how the scheme works, and the pros and cons, see our Childcare Vouchers guide.

What are Childcare Vouchers?

Childcare vouchers can save many parents with kids aged up to 15 (16 if they’re disabled) over £1,000 a year on childcare as they allow you to pay for childcare out of your pre-tax and national insurance income.

They are only available through your employer, but lots of companies sign up to the scheme. The vouchers can be used to pay for childcare Including Ofsted registered Flexi Nannies. and Ofsted Registered recruited nannies.

How to Apply for Childcare Vouchers

What are childcare vouchers?

The process will vary depending on who you work for. Yet in short, you need to:

  • Ask your HR department if they offer childcare vouchers.
  • If they do, you’ll need to complete a salary sacrifice agreement. Your employer will help you do this. If you’re on basic-rate tax, it works something like this…You give up £1,000 of PRE-TAX salary in exchange for £1,000 of childcare vouchers. As you would have paid tax and National Insurance on that salary though, it would only have been worth £700ish in your pocket. So by exchanging salary for vouchers, you’re about £300 better off. 
  • After your application has been submitted to your employer, it will reduce your salary in the next payroll by the requested amount and arrange for vouchers to be provided to you.

Wedding Day Childcare

Wedding season is fast approaching and Freedom Childcare will be out and about at a variety of locations showcasing our Wedding Day Childcare Services.

Wedding fair stand - Freedom Childcare

Whether you are booking for this year or in the future we would be delighted to discuss your plans and how our bespoke Childcare packages can enhance your special day. Sandra generally attends the wedding fair as she has worked for Freedom for the past 12 years she can help with any questions you may have.  We recently attended a wedding fair at the Concord Club in Eastleigh who offer a variety of wedding packages.

All of our Wedding clients tell us that although childcare was an additional expenses they hadn’t considered it was really worth while and ensured the children were entertained and kept untimely interruptions throughout critical parts of the day to a minimum.

“Just a quick email to let you know how delighted we were with your staff at our wedding! They were amazing! Kayleigh was so professional and the girls took to her straight away! She was better than my expectations of a nanny. Thank you and thank you to your team”

“Thank you for organising Ann Colwill to babysit our 4 year old son on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd April.  We were so pleased with Ann.  She arrived promptly and immediately took over our son.  She was prepared for the evening and how she would entertain him.  She immediately engaged him and quickly built a rapport, so much so, he didn’t even look up when we said goodbye as we left!  It was so lovely for us to be able to enjoy our evenings out, knowing he was in such good hands.”

Whether you need a babysitter, nannies a creche or a combination of all three we can help!

Craft Bags – Creative Fun for Children

Freedom Childcare have developed Craft Bags that are a great addition to creches for weddings or events. The bags are designed for 5-12 year olds and have everything needed for the creation.

The children love them and parents quite like them also! The craft bags are made from 100% natural materials and are fully recyclable.

Throughout the year we attend several events to promote the business and the bags can be bought as a stand alone item. With our hotel partners they are stocking them to keep children entertained during their stay.

If you would like a craft bag please call 0800 0851444 and we will post one out to you, they cost £5 each plus postage and packaging.

New Year – New Wedding

Weddings are such fantastic event for the whole family however if you have children attending you do need to consider what they will be doing whilst the adults are catching up, drinking, listening to speeches etc. Weddings are about families fusing creating a day everyone can enjoy is the secret. Providing childcare in the form of Nannies, Babysitters or a mobile creche can alleviate anxious parents, bored children and compromised expectations.

Creating this any day of the year is a challenge we embrace, and time and time again create a bespoke package that meets and exceeds everyone’s expectations—doing this on an annually epic evening such as New Year’s Eve adds an additional dynamic –I am proud to say our Team were again sensational!

Wedding Day creche

Wedding Creche and Babysitting

Rhinefield House – 31 December 2017

Hi Fran,

I just wanted to send an email saying thank you to you and your staff (especially Emma) for their amazing work and efforts on our wedding on New Year’s Eve. The did a fantastic job, all the parents were so happy that the kids were having such fun and were entertained throughout the day and looked after at night.

My sister especially loved the creche for her kids and I know that Floyd would have stayed in there all day if he could! All the kids benefitted, as well as the parents. My sister really appreciated the contact via text and updates on how the kids were doing, she said it put her mind at ease for the whole day. It just let the parents enjoy the day that little bit more knowing the kids were in safe hands and having a great time.

Please pass on all our compliments to your staff, we cannot fault them and so glad we made the decision to have Emma and the team come along. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the creche in full swing, which was probably a good thing as I may have ended up in there for hours with the kids! But from what I did see, and from all the praises the parents are singing, the service was second to none.

 

Thank you so much again, you were invaluable.
All the best,

 

Sian

Create a Comfy, Portable, Pillow Bed

Create a Comfy, Portable, Pillow Bed

You don’t need to spend a fortune on a portable bed for your children with this great idea. Just sew four pillow cases together, insert the pillows and you have a bed for all purposes. Fold in the top pillow to raise your child’s head.

This pillow bed is also easy to keep clean as the pillows just slip out and the covers can go in the washing machine. Great for travelling and sleepovers!