Council pays tribute to our unsung childminder heroes

Aberdeen City Council today (Wednesday 20 May) paid tribute to the city’s childminders who have been unsung heroes in helping support key worker families during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Council’s Early Years team has been working with the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) since March to allocate emergency childcare spaces for over 60 children whose parents are NHS or other keyworkers. So far, 24 childminders have volunteered to provide flexible childcare within their childminding service, for up to 13 hours a day in some instances.

Childminders have been going above and beyond, supporting families by picking up children from their home setting and with the help of the Early Years team, SCMA, Cash For Kids and CFINE, by providing food parcels, clothes and paying heating costs for vulnerable families.

Families have been quick to express their praise and gratitude to everyone involved including the Scottish Childminding Association’s Childminding Development Officer, Loraine Duncan, who has been instrumental in resourcing and supporting families and childminders.

Importantly childminders have been able to operate, while other childcare settings are closed, because of the small numbers involved. The childminding settings provide critical childcare for key workers and vulnerable children and operate within new social distancing guidance which has been developed to support them.

Councillor John Wheeler, Education Operational Delivery Convener said: “The increasing number of childminders who will play a vital part in our delivery of our Early Learning and Childcare offering, are already stepping up to the plate and helping us provide emergency childcare to key workers who have a number of children or work shift patterns.

“We have seen numerous examples of their great work really complements the wonderful efforts of our education and childcare hubs for key worker families across the city. My sincere thanks go out to Early Years team and these unsung heroes who are helping through the challenges we are facing at the moment”.

The Scottish Childminding Association’s Chief Executive, Graeme McAlister, said: “Many childminders in Scotland have chosen to keep their service open to provide childcare for children of key workers and vulnerable children and support the national response to COVID-19. Childminders have been able to provide critical childcare at a time where other settings, such as nurseries have had to close.

“There are so many examples of the ways in which childminders have not only continued to provide a high-quality childcare service throughout the pandemic, but have also been working tirelessly to maintain connections with children and families they usually provide childcare for. The response of the childminding community has been fantastic and is very typical of this workforce!”

Aberdeen City Council has also expressed its gratitude by sending out a letter of thanks to the childminders.