Local MSP visits local nursery to find out how flexible early learning & childcare is supporting parents back to work

Willie Coffey, MSP for Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, visited Flexible Childcare Services Scotland’s Kilmarnock nursery to discover how flexible childcare is supporting families and businesses in and around Kilmarnock.

Flexible Childcare Services Scotland (FCSS) is a national charity with 21 childcare settings across Scotland. The charity offers a flexible childcare model meaning that parents can book by the hour, change their bookings each week and only pay for the early learning and childcare they actually use. This model has been specifically created to help parents to get back into the workforce or into training or education by providing childcare when parents need it most.

This is a huge contrast to the standard model of childcare where parents are forced to book fixed blocks of time which can be expensive and don’t always meet the needs of families.

Service Manager Lindsey Scott explains,

“Our flexible early learning and childcare model was created to help parents find and accept offers of employment that would otherwise be unavailable to them. Thanks to our model 80% of the parents we support are in part time or full time employment and as well as saving money on their childcare they are also increasing their household income. This gives parents a much greater peace of mind and helps improve their mental wellbeing.”

FCSS’s Kilmarnock Nursery supports up to 44 children from 0-5 years old and is located in the grounds of the Former Kilmarnock Academy building which is now home to the CentreStage Village.  The location gives parents the advantage of accessing a wide variety of onsite services within CentreStage, from the popular café bar, a timetable of FREE wellbeing activities and advice from the other charities and organisation which make up the “Neighbourhood”.

A CentreStage spokesperson said,

“We are so delighted to have FCSS as an integral part of our CentreStage Neighbourhood.  Our Charity supports groups from babies to the most elderly in our community. Parents can tap into our classes and activities, not only for the children but also for themselves.  CentreStage is a place where everyone regardless of age, ability, or background can find what they need to flourish in life”.

Parents using the service have been able to start new jobs or increase their working hours and many (82%) have reduced their household expenditure while increasing their income.

Susan McGhee, Chief Executive at FCSS, said, “We are delighted to be a part of the CentreStage Village, as well as giving local parents access to affordable, accessible and flexible childcare, we can work together with the centre to ensure our parents have access to specialist services such as debt advice and employability workshops where parents can enhance their existing skills, further supporting them back into the workforce.”

According to one parent,

“I think the service provided at Kilmarnock Nursery is really good! I love the flexible model because I work shifts and my childcare requirements change each week. Since starting at the nursery I have been able to work full time which has really helped.”

Another said,

“We have had a really positive experience at the nursery. The staff are great and give regular updates which is really helpful. The flexible model is fantastic, it works around our life and we can change our days and hours easily if needed.”