‘I gave up my job to open a children’s micro nursery in my home’

Kayleigh Ashford from Bradley Stoke retrained to be a childminder after working in the care sector
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A Bristol mum is tackling the widespread childcare crisis by starting her own ‘micro’ nursery catering to local shift-working parents, including nurses at Southmead.

Mum-of-two Kayleigh Ashford from Bradley Stoke trained with an early years initiative and is part of a cohort of new childminders hoping to create a new network of affordable high quality childcare settings in the Bristol region.

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Budding entrepreneurs across Bristol are taking a novel approach to tackling the growing childcare crisis, opening ‘micro nurseries’ in their own homes.

Thanks to an initiative called tiney, Bristol residents like Kayleigh are retraining as childminders and opening nurseries at home.

This is helping to provide excellent early years education for children whilst offering better childcare options for local families, at a time when nursery closures are at an all time high.

After over a decade of putting in long shifts in different roles across the care sector, Kayleigh decided to launch her own tiney nursery.

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She says: “I really enjoyed the work I was doing before, but the irregular shift patterns made finding suitable childcare next to impossible, while rising nursery fees meant I would likely be spending more than I was earning.

“I asked myself what could I do that I’m still passionate about, where I can put my experience to good use, spend more time with my children, and have greater flexibility?

“Childminding as a career option immediately stood out to me. Being able to offer local working parents and shift workers that sense of relief has been immensely rewarding. I’ve experienced their need for flexible and affordable childcare first-hand and I’m so proud to be offering that in my local area.”

Across England, there has been a 35% increase in the number of nurseries closing down thanks to the pandemic and one in five nursery staff are thinking of leaving their roles. Many other nurseries are operating at a loss due to rising costs.

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Tiney hopes to recruit and train hundreds of new childminders in the area over the coming months to meet the staggering demand for affordable, high-quality childcare services in the Bristol area.

Kayleigh set up her micro nursery at home in Bradley StokeKayleigh set up her micro nursery at home in Bradley Stoke
Kayleigh set up her micro nursery at home in Bradley Stoke

And many of the early recruits are parents who themselves have struggled to find and afford the right childcare.

Tiney hopes that the prospect of higher salaries for childcare professionals (thanks to the low overheads associated with childminding) and the autonomy that comes from working from home, will help attract a new generation of early years educators in Bristol.

On average, childminding is more than 15% cheaper than nursery for under-4s.

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Tiney is Ofsted registered and anyone who successfully registers as a childminder will be eligible for a £1200 Government grant from the autumn. If someone has never been a childminder before they can train with tiney for an initial joining fee of £200, which includes their paediatric first aid training.

There are a few other variable costs that the candidate has to pay, such as DBS and GP check, but these are more than covered by the new Government grant.

The successful tiney home leaders are fully trained in Early Years Foundation Stage, paediatric first aid and safeguarding, as well as undergoing enhanced DBS checks.

You can find out more about tiney here.

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