Childminder offers lockdown ‘lifeline’ to families with stay and play service
PUBLISHED: 17:07 29 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:07 29 May 2020
A childminder who wanted to pass her happy childhood memories onto her local community has been working hard to keep villagers entertained during the coronavirus lockdown.
Zowie Bishop-Saunders, who runs Woodland Community Spirit Stay and Play in Outwell and Upwell near Wisbech, has seen a growing number of parents and their children take part in several activities as well as online sessions.
Zowie, who lived in Nordelph and Barroway Drove as a child, was keen to keep families smiling by setting different tasks and activities, such as a village treasure hunt, which usually take place every fortnight.
“Last October, people were asking for stay and play in Outwell and Upwell, so I set this up with county council funding,” Zowie, who has ran Woodland Community Spirit for eight years, said.
“When I was a child, we collected policeman cards for the police, just so we got to know people in the community, and I thought it would be nice.
“When we went into lockdown, I was thinking of things to do as a community for parents and children, something for them to look forward to and add some sort of structure for them.”
Poppy Maude is one parent who has relied on Zowie to provide that all-important structure.
With daughters two-year-old Lilly and five-month-old Rosie to look after, Poppy found it difficult to settle after moving with her husband to Outwell from Nottingham in 2015.
“My husband was based at RAF Marham with all his friends on base, so we were recommended Zowie,” she said.
“When I was on maternity leave with my second child, I started going to her classes at Outwell Village Hall.
“It is isolating being stuck at home, so she was doing online classes. She would send a list of what we were going to do each week.
“It is a lifeline. A lot of my friends at university have kids and they have not had the opportunities like I have had here. We have been so lucky.”
Zowie is looking to continue after the lockdown, but although she won’t run her sessions as often, the impact she has already made is spurring her on.
“After full lockdown, I will go once a month but I intend to carry it on,” she said.
“It is absolutely amazing. The children are so excited and their parents, it makes my heart sing. I am so pleased I can do something which is a happy memory from lockdown, trying to put a positive spin on it.
“I do not do this for credit, but just to give kids a happy memory like I had.”
For more information, visit the Woodlands Community Spirit Stay and Play Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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