NurseryChildren and families charity 4Children has successfully won funding to develop a series of Community Childcare Hubs and lead a nationwide programme to support Children’s Centres. 

4Children will work with partners from the Innovation Trust, OPM and Contact a Family to develop Community Childcare Hubs over the next two years with the aim of creating a new, replicable model of high quality ‘blended’ childcare. The charity has also been selected to lead a nationwide programme to support Children’s Centres in reaching out to the most disadvantaged families in their communities. The programmes are funded through the Department for Education’s National Prospectus programme – Voluntary Community Sector for innovation. 

The Community Childcare Hubs aim to provide working families with the flexibility they need to balance their work and home commitments while improving quality and sustainability. Parents will benefit from nursery and childminder support from one co-ordinated source in a seamless system of high-quality blended childcare. It is hoped the pilots will ensure a move away from the current, often fragmented system that regularly sees providers working in isolation and parents left in difficulty when family life throws up unexpected challenges. 

Anne Longfield, Chief Executive of 4Children, said: “These important and innovative programmes recognise the importance of childcare and children’s centres for both children and their parents. They draw on leading thinking and practice from around the country to ensure they are doing all they can to respond to the complexities of family life – especially for those families who are experiencing difficulties.

“The new Community Childcare Hubs are a truly progressive development which have real potential to deliver major wins for children, families and childcare providers. Through the Hubs, parents will benefit from flexible and responsive childcare that is both high quality and sustainable. They will provide the flexible and reliable resource that families increasingly need as they juggle their working patterns and demands.”

Reach Out

The second part of the scheme will see 4Children run the Children’s Centre ‘Reach Out’ programme, which will:

  • Share learning and what works for Children’s Centres
  • Develop benchmarks in reaching out to the most vulnerable
  • Develop interactive resources that give Children’s Centres the tools they need to fulfil their potential to improve outcomes
  • Enable Government and commissioners to better assess the impact of Children’s Centre services and understand how they can most effectively support related objectives including improving school readiness, turning around troubled families and promoting parental employment.

Longfield added: “I’m delighted that 4Children will continue to champion Children’s Centres and through this ‘Reach Out’ programme, help them to offer the best possible support for local families. Given the difficult times that families are now facing, it’s more important than ever that all staff have the know-how to intervene in problems early, before they become entrenched, and have the latest understanding of what works at their fingertips.”