Somerset County Council is launching a new campaign to tackle a childminder shortage across the county.
The number of childminders in Somerset has fallen dramatically year upon year, in line with what is a national trend.
In response the Council has been working hard to boost the numbers and is launching a new initiative aimed at encouraging more people to start their own childcare business.
If you love children and want to give them the best start in life and also want to work in your own home, then becoming a professional childminder might be the ideal opportunity.
A new ‘Golden Hello’ of £250 is launching in April for new childminding businesses offering early years funded places that open before the end of September 2018.
The Council also offers guidance and training to newly-registered childminders, and supports them through to Ofsted registration and beyond.
Somerset-based Rebecca Lihou entered the profession while working from home when her children were young. The experience has inspired her to gain an Early Years Foundation Degree and BA in Education.
Today she works as a lead childminder, sharing good practice and spreading the word. In 2016 she was voted Childminder of the Year at the Nursery World Awards and continues to be an inspiration to other childminders.
“If you have a passion for supporting children to learn and grow through exciting play opportunities and you want to make a difference to children and families, then childminding is a career for you,” said Rebecca
“Registering as a Childminder to operate your own childminding business is an exciting career for anyone with a passion for supporting children and their families in their Early Years journey.
“It is a dynamic, inspiring and heart-warming career that really does make a difference!”
Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Councillor Frances Nicholson has welcomed the initiative.
She said: “Making sure that families are able to find the high-quality childcare that suits them best, and children get the best start in life, is crucial for their future.
“I would encourage anyone who wants to work at home and really wants to help small children develop well and reach their potential to take advantage of this scheme and the County Council support that is on offer.”
To find out more about becoming a childminder, and for an information pack please visit http://www.somerset.gov.uk/register, or phone 0300 123 2224