Clyde Gateway’s Supporting Families (SF) project, supported by the Access to Childcare Fund (ACF) has made a difference to families’ lives, bolstering children and parents’ health, relationships and financial security.
That’s the key finding of the final report into phase one of the ACF, which also reveals that access to childcare opened up new work opportunities and reduced costs for many participating families.
Funded school age childcare provided through the projects offered a safe, supportive place for children to come together and, while families may have experienced difficult times through the pandemic, children were able to have fun, make new friends, get outdoors and play.
Our Supporting Families (SF) project is a ‘whole family’ approach developed by Clyde Gateway and partners, that provides enhanced and flexible wrap around services for families in Clyde Gateway by addressing both economic and social exclusion; to provide improved outcomes for children and families from the most disadvantaged backgrounds whilst supporting a reduction in levels of child poverty. The model is needs led and has adapted to this need over the years.
The SF: Access to Childcare project was developed to provide enhanced and flexible wrap around services for families and to support a minimum of 150 children to access afterschool provision. The other main components were:
The project is delivered in the South Lanarkshire area of Clyde Gateway in partnership with South Lanarkshire Council, South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture, Routes to Work South and One Parent Families Scotland.
The Scottish Government’s Access to Childcare Fund was designed to increase access to childcare for those families most at risk of experiencing child poverty.
Between October 2021 and March 2022, the Fund invested more than £2 million into 15 projects across Scotland. National charity Children in Scotland managed the fund on the Scottish Government’s behalf.
A short film about the Fund and projects it supported has been produced.
Welcoming publication of the report, Children in Scotland’s Head of Policy, Projects and Participation Amy Woodhouse said:
“The Access to Childcare Fund experience has taught us many valuable lessons, including the importance of relationships, the complexity of poverty, and the fact that childcare does not exist in a vacuum but is deeply connected to other basic needs in families and communities.
“Children and young people have had a lot of valuable things to say about their experiences of the childcare provided through the Fund. A recommendation of the report is that childcare providers should consider how they incorporate children’s views into service design, delivery and evaluation. We are hopeful that Scotland’s move towards incorporating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child will provide further impetus for this.”
Access to Childcare Fund Lead Alison Hay said:
“Although funded projects had to operate in the most challenging of circumstances, the Fund has shown that our vision for childcare as a service that nurtures the child and the wider family, exists as part of a wider community, and is responsive to individual needs, is possible and achievable.”
Children’s Minister Clare Haughey said:
“This report shows that almost 1500 children from 1000 low income families were supported through the Access to Childcare Fund (ACF) between October 2021 and March 2022.
“The Scottish Government is committed to building a system of school age childcare, where the least well-off families pay nothing. This evaluation of the ACF will help our understanding of what families need as we take our next steps.
“I would like to thank Children in Scotland, the projects, and the families involved, who provided valuable input for this report.”
More than 1479 children from 1000 families were supported through the Fund. It supported projects to test out new approaches to childcare, including expanding services through providing free and subsidised places; increasing the hours and days of operation; and increasing the types of services on offer.
In the context of a challenging winter, the cost of living crisis, and evidence of how projects supported by the Fund reacted to rapidly changing circumstances, it is hoped that the report’s learning and recommendations can be widely shared.