Families and priorities after June 8th 2017

The UK is moving fast towards the next general election, debates, broadcasts, chat shows and face to face meetings.

But what are they going to do to help families? So much talk and we wonder what the action will be? 

Pledges for childcare are hot in the press, promises, considerations, making life better and much more.

It was with huge interest that our partnership read the blog from Family and Childcare Trust called: General Election 2017: What are the parties going to do for families?

In the last week  all the main party manifestos are launched with main committments and pledges. Well worth reading!!

Our partnership remains fundamentally in support of high quality, affordable and accessible for all families and an effective choice to ensure that children grow and develop, thrive and learn, both within families and in childcare settings.

We work within local authorities and directly with settings to ensure that we are at the forefront of understanding and development.

Family and Childcare Trust are a campaigning organisation with a strong voice towards government understanding.

Julia Margo, Chief Executive has asked for support in the Family and Childcare Trust’s call to the next government to ensure that;

“Every parent is better off working, after they’ve paid for childcare and that every child can access high quality childcare to boost their learning”

Join us in supporting Family and Childcare Trust in their committment to families futures in the next parliament.

Sue Martin


  • News and fresh thinking from SmithMartin Partnership LLP
    We are always happy to explore new partnerships and projects in our core expertise areas - childcare, early years, education, charities, social business, governance, fund raising, literacy, books and web communications to support the work across all sectors.

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  • An Equal Start in Life – Finland’s Baby Box

    Finnish Baby Boxes
    Finnish Baby Boxes

    One of the most beautiful things we have seen is the Baby Box for all newborns in Finland.

    ‘I started life in a box, we all did!’ said a colleague, who was proud of the equality given to all babies in Finland since 1938. An equal start, and an equality in society that is mirrored throughout life.

    Every Finnish mother receives a maternity grant when baby is born.

    We started to get really interested in the concept of the box. At our meeting in the Finnish Embassy, which was actually not to do with provision for babies, we were shown the most beautiful boxes. The box has a mattress and sleeping oufits so the baby can sleep in the box for several months of their life.

    The contents of the box include all that you would need for a new baby, and in excellent quality. The clothes, including very warm snuggly ‘all in ones’ are in colours that are gender neutral, and really beautiful. Who would not to have one of these?

    An equal start in life it really is. And an equality that pervades the whole of the Finnish culture.

    The baby box has been available since 1938 and is provided as the maternity grant. Mothers can choose between cash and the box. Of the 60,000 grants distributed annually by Kela, Social Insurance Institution in Finland, two thirds are taken as maternity packages as the baby boxes with contents.

    In the 1960’s sleeping bags first appeared in the boxes instead of quilts. By the 1980’s and 90’s families had become better off, but since the package remained as popular as ever it was decided to continue.

    In the 2000’s the boxes continue and the contents are reviewed annually by a social insurance committee following a competitive tendering process, in which quality and affordability are equally important.
    The boxes are available to purchase for anyone living outside Finland, who is not covered by the Finnish social security system, and can range from a Summer Basket to a Cold Winter Basket.

    Our partnership is very socially minded and this idea has a huge appeal, so simple, so beautiful and yet so practical. It provides an equal start in life and a pride of life in a box shared by all citizens in Finland.

    Kela Maternity Box

    Sue Martin FRSA
    SmithMartin Partnership

     

     

     

     


  • News and fresh thinking from SmithMartin Partnership LLP
    We are always happy to explore new partnerships and projects in our core expertise areas - childcare, early years, education, charities, social business, governance, fund raising, literacy, books and web communications to support the work across all sectors.

    Email office@smithmartinpartnership.com for an exploratory review...

  • Motherhood Around the World

    Image: Mother and child in Sweden, ready for winter?

    Joanna Goddard’s U.S. on-line journal, A Cup of Jo, has been publishing a series of articles in recent years about motherhood and parenting across the world. You can find the collection here.

    There are some surprises in store. What has amazed us, reading the collection of articles, is the wide variety of rules and regulations, benefits and opportunities, as well as the universal nature of care for children, expressed in the detail of the articles. The latter not a surprise.

    The context for the articles, in our times of benefit cuts, constrained resources and political alienation, is that there exists a variety of models for parenting and parenting support. They depend on the socio-cultural norms of the country under examination. They depend on the economic ‘depth’ of the country too. They all depend on that universality of love that parents offer.

    The article we liked the most, 14 Surprising Things About Parenting in Sweden, features parents and child, originally from the USA and Brazil, declaring their experiences of life in Sweden.

    Cultural norms in Sweden are different. For example, leaving your child, heavily swaddled, out of doors in the midst of a Nordic winter takes courage. However, parents are given 480 days of paid leave, post arrival of a child, with 90 of them dedicated to the father.

    Childcare costs cannot exceed $150 a month, and we got very excited for parents reading about Vabbing – the principle of the state paying salaries when you have to stay off work to care for sick children.

    We also liked the Law of Jante, another cultural principle really, that insists ‘…that one individual is not more special than any other, and you’re not to behave as if you are‘. A great pre-cursor for enhancing social equality? Although we recognise that in some acquisitive cultures this lack of focus on success and ‘high performance’ might jar with some parents.

    pippi longstocking cover image
    Review or pruchase this book from Amazon.co.uk…

    As booksellers we were truly delighted to read that Pipi Longstocking and Alfie Atkins are as popular as ever with Swedish children. Who could guess?

    Dipping into the article series on the ‘motherhood’ pages of A Cup of Jo is an uplifting experience, particularly in the midst of a grey English winter. It also shows that with all the pressures of parenthood you are not alone and that there is always a different, even better way, to do things too.

    Motherhood Around The World – we recommend it.

    smpPlainButton


  • News and fresh thinking from SmithMartin Partnership LLP
    We are always happy to explore new partnerships and projects in our core expertise areas - childcare, early years, education, charities, social business, governance, fund raising, literacy, books and web communications to support the work across all sectors.

    Email office@smithmartinpartnership.com for an exploratory review...

  • Increase in childcare entitlement from 15 – 30 hours per week.

    Image 1Children and Young People Now have published the latest from the government in doubling free universal childcare entitlement.

    The government is to fast-track legislation to double free universal childcare entitlement to 30 hours a week. David Cameron says one of the first things his government will do is legislate to increase childcare provision.


    In a speech in Stockton-on-Tees yesterday Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed that the Conservative Party’s manifesto commitment to expand the free entitlement to early education from 15 hours a week to 30 hours a week, will be included in the Queen’s Speech this month.

    He said: “One of the first things we are going to do is to make sure that we legislate to help with childcare.

    “I think for so many families in our country it’s absolutely essential that they get that help with childcare, so that people who want to work and want to work more hours or longer shifts, or more shifts to bring home more money, are able to do that.” ‘

    SmithMartin Partnership – working to achieve good quality childcare.


  • News and fresh thinking from SmithMartin Partnership LLP
    We are always happy to explore new partnerships and projects in our core expertise areas - childcare, early years, education, charities, social business, governance, fund raising, literacy, books and web communications to support the work across all sectors.

    Email office@smithmartinpartnership.com for an exploratory review...

  • Alison McGovern,
    new Shadow Childcare Minister

    Image 7
    Image: Alison McGovern

    Alison McGovern has been appointed as the new shadow childcare minister.

    She replaces Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell, appointed to the shadow early years brief in October 2013, has led Labour’s campaigns over the past year against cuts to children’s centres and the shortage of free childcare places.

    She lists her parliamentary interests as international development, work and pensions, business innovation and skills, health, Treasury, Nigeria, older people’s health services, conditions of employment, supermarkets, and developing countries.

    Most of Alison’s parliamentary business has involved issues on international development and social care for adults, although she has asked questions on school meals, youth unemployment and learning disability education.

    It will be good to have a new perspective on childcare and we look forward to hearing more from Alison.
    See more at: CYP NOW

    SmithMartin Partnership LLP – childcare and early years sector


  • News and fresh thinking from SmithMartin Partnership LLP
    We are always happy to explore new partnerships and projects in our core expertise areas - childcare, early years, education, charities, social business, governance, fund raising, literacy, books and web communications to support the work across all sectors.

    Email office@smithmartinpartnership.com for an exploratory review...

  • Parent’s Participation Research at Daycare Trust

    Parents’ Forum at Granard Children’s Centre in Wandsworth

    GPF

    Daycare Trust has been exploring the range of volunteering opportunities and parent participation initiatives being managed by local authorities and Children’s Centres in England.

    The Parents’ Forum at Granard Children’s Centre, which is part of Granard Primary School, is an excellent example of supporting parents in the community. Parents have a voice and place to share thoughts, ideas and skills in a positive and encouraging atmosphere.

    Governance and organisation are key to the structure and delivery of a community based programme of activities. At Granard, involvement through the Parents’ Forum is the mechanism which enables a range of activities and services. Not only do they meet the government agenda but are also relevant to the needs of parents.

    In the Daycare Trust report it states, ” Parents have described the Parents’ Forum as good for self esteem, socialising and developing new ideas. It also provides a reason for leaving home on Monday mornings and lifts depression.”

    SmithMartin Partnership LLP is proud to be a member of Daycare Trust.

    Sue Martin

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  • News and fresh thinking from SmithMartin Partnership LLP
    We are always happy to explore new partnerships and projects in our core expertise areas - childcare, early years, education, charities, social business, governance, fund raising, literacy, books and web communications to support the work across all sectors.

    Email office@smithmartinpartnership.com for an exploratory review...