More Summer Childcare Support needed for Key Workers, says Rhun ap Iorwerth

Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn, has expressed concern that many key workers are struggling with childcare over the summer and is calling on Welsh Government to reconsider its decision not to fully fund summer care.

Many parents who are key workers – particularly in the health and care sector – have contacted Mr ap Iorwerth following the decision not to continue Covid-19 childcare hubs Wales-wide, meaning they are faced with last minute and unforeseen childcare issues.

Many have found that usual childminding services are already full to capacity and many grandparents are still shielding, leaving parents with limited options, whereas the Coronavirus Childcare Assistance Scheme (C-CAS) during the summer holidays will only be provided to key workers’ children under the age of five, and vulnerable children.

Rhun ap Iorwerth, MS for Ynys Môn, said:

“Many parents are telling me that the decision not to fund child care for key workers over the summer has left them ‘in the lurch’. For those key workers who have no alternative childcare options, they are telling me that they’re having to consider giving up work.

“Many normally rely on grandparents or extended families, but find themselves in a position where grandparents are still shielding, and their family and friends have already formed other extended households.

“I have been in contact with Anglesey Council and they are clearly frustrated that after putting a detailed plan in place to deliver childcare for key workers over the summer, a last minute decision by Welsh Government not to fund it meant the plans could no longer be delivered.

“I have also written to Welsh Government, asking them to reconsider the decision urgently, or to at least review the rules on extended households so that key workers have more childcare options.”

One parent, Clare Mcmullen, a District Nurse from Holyhead, explained that the decision not to carry on with the Childcare Assistance Scheme will have a significant impact on her family. She said:

“The lack of available care is a major problem for me and my family. I am unable to take more annual leave, and with schools not opening until mid September, I’ll need more childcare than usual.

“My only option would be for my children to go to a different household every shift I work – some days that may have to be with with relatives who are shielding, and other days with key workers currently working on COVID-19 wards. I don’t want to create that kind of health risk.

“From the start I have been very aware that my role as a nurse is putting my children at risk, yet I have never hesitated in doing it. But now I need some help.“