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Putting parent-led childcare first at the Friendly Families Nursery in Lewisham

Author: Trust for London

Friendly Families Nursery

The parent-led childcare cooperative Friendly Families Nursery in Deptford, Lewisham will soon be opening its doors thanks to the hard work of many parents and partners, providing affordable and accessible childcare to local families and supported by Trust for London social investment.

Friendly Families Nursery was first established as a parent-led childcare model in 2019 by a group of local parents who set the vision and initial business plan for the Lewisham-based centre, with the support of the New Economics Foundation (NEF) and Coram Family and Childcare, as well as a partnership with Peabody Housing and additional GLA funding.

Parent-led childcare involves parents directly in its organisation and delivery, from planning out what the childcare service looks like and provides, to sitting on the management board and recruiting early years professionals.

It puts local parents at the helm of the service to create something that works for their neighbourhood.

Lack of flexible and affordable childcare is a major issue for London’s families, contributing to lower maternal and single-parent employment rates and having a knock-on effect on attainment between children who have had access to childcare provision from an early age and those who have not. As an approach well-established in other parts of the world including New Zealand and Sweden, the co-production model allows parents to play a key role in making flexible and affordable childcare a reality, whilst boosting children’s learning.

A loan from Trust for London at this stage will allow Friendly Families Nursery to manage their slightly more complex cash-flow requirements in the start-up phase of the community-led nursery before they become financially sustainable as they provide differing fee structures to parents, taking into consideration flexible hours and varied levels of commitment.

It is hoped that the nursery will be a great success story of this approach to childcare, benefitting many families in the Deptford area and contributing to NEF’s work towards establishing it as a viable and attractive model for the UK.

The Friendly Families Nursery is based on Albyn Road, Deptford and it is due to open in early 2020. They are currently recruiting for the nursery staff team. For more details on the roles or information on their opening hours or fees, visit their website.

Trust for London is always open to progressive social investment proposals which fit our mission of tackling poverty and inequality in the capital. If you are interested in applying, please read our social investment information pages – what we will invest in and FAQs