Childminder wins national award by helping others

Clare Buckingham, strategic policy and place planning manager at Cambridgeshire County Council (left

Clare Buckingham, strategic policy and place planning manager at Cambridgeshire County Council (left) collecting the award on behalf of Mel Dyson and Michelle Dyson, director of early years and childcare at the Department for Education (right). - Credit: Archant

A dedicated childminder from Whittlesey has won a national award after she raised awareness of a scheme to help other families.

Mel Negus was concerned with the amount of information available to providers about the 30 hours extended entitlement.

This doubles the 15 hour entitlement introduced in 2010 and can save families of three and four-year-olds up to £5,000 per year per child.

Mel arranged local meeting so that all childcare providers could come together to support each other.

As a result childminders and nurseries in the town have all worked in partnership to offer 30 hours childcare for parents.

As of February this year, more than 3,800 families in Cambridgeshire were taking up their entitlement.

Mel won the Winner of the Partnership Award category.

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Meanwhile, the Winner of the Local Authority Sharing Practice Award category went to Cambridgeshire County Council.

Officers had developed and shared a spreadsheet modelling tool to help childcare providers to model their costs and income in order to assess their capacity to offer the extended entitlement.

Simon Bywater, chairman of the children and young people committee, said: “I’m delighted that two Cambridgeshire projects have been recognised in the Childcare Works Awards.

“Thanks to the hard work of childcare providers across the county our latest estimate is that there will be sufficient spaces for all children looking for a 30 hours childcare place for summer term 2018 - we are currently predicting a surplus of approximately 500 places across the county.

“We are conscious of the need to support childcare providers and have commissioned the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) to support with business planning, support, advice and training to enable them to deliver the extended entitlement.”