Grant aims to tackle growing childminder shortage in Somerset

Somerset County Council is renewing its campaign to tackle a shortage of childminders across the county through a ‘Golden Hello’ grant worth £250.00.

The number of childminders in Somerset has fallen year upon year, in line with what is a national picture.  The number of registered childminders in the county has decreased by over 31% since September 2015.

In response, Somerset County Council has been working hard to boost numbers and is extending an initiative aimed at encouraging more people to start their own childcare business.

The grant is available to new childminding businesses offering early years funded places who apply before 28 February 2022.

The Council also offers guidance and training to newly registered childminders and supports them through Ofsted registration and beyond.

Would-be childminders can get information and advice at two upcoming short, informal virtual sessions. Anyone interested is urged to register through online booking website Eventbrite through the following links:

  1. Thursday 24 June (10-10.30am) – www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/childminding-in-somerset-virtual-information-session-tickets-157985190959
  2. Wednesday 21 July (6.30-7pm) – www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/childminding-in-somerset-virtual-information-session-tickets-157986252133

Hosted by the Council’s Early Years team, the events offer an opportunity to find out more, including what is needed in terms of training and qualifications.

Whether you are thinking about what to do after leaving school, are already working with children or you’re looking for a career change, the team will have information to help you make the right choices.

Emma Stradling set up Millmoot’s Little Boots childcare in February 2020. Although Emma has only been childminding for just over a year, she finds it works well for her and her young family. Emma said: “Childminding gives me the flexibility to care for others while also looking after my own children.  I love that every day is different, and every child is different with their own unique personality and needs.

“I live on a farm in Cossington, around five miles north of Bridgwater. There’s always something happening on the farm to involve the children in. Recently, it was so lovely to see their excitement when our lambs were born.

“It’s always busy but loads of fun. I really can’t imagine myself doing anything else now. Anyone thinking of becoming a childminder should go for it. It’s a fantastic job and is so rewarding.”

Councillor Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “The pandemic has had an impact on us all and made many people re-evaluate what is important to them. Becoming a professional childminder may be the ideal opportunity for some.

“I would encourage anyone who loves children and wants to give them the best start in life, while also working flexibly from their own home, to take advantage of this scheme and the County Council support that is on offer.”

Support is also available to childminders through a county-wide network of Early Years Communities, assisted by officers within the Early Years Team at Somerset County Council. The networks arrange continuous professional development (CPD) events as well as offering practitioners peer-to-peer support.

To find out more about becoming a childminder, and for an information pack please call 0300 123 2224 or visit www.somerset.gov.uk/register

ENDS

For further information, please contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email pressoffice@somerset.gov.uk

Notes to news editors

  • The number of registered childminders in Somerset:
    • 359 in September 2015.
    • 245 in May 2021.
  • Ofsted is the ‘Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills’.
  • To be eligible for the ‘Golden Hello Grant’ of £250.00 Childminders must meet the following eligibility requirements:
    • be a Childminder who is newly registered on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and operating in Somerset.
    • apply for this grant within three months of being registered with Ofsted and must not have received a start-up grant from Somerset County Council or the government.
    • have been accepted to join Somerset’s Directory of entitlement funded providers and registered as an active user on the Entitlements portal.
    • offer the funded childcare entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds universal and extended offer and offer places for eligible funded 2 year olds.
    • have an Ofsted registration certificate and insurance in place.
    • commit to operating your business for at least a year.