A grand approach towards childcare
MORE and more grandparents are becoming childminders for their grandchildren - because parents cannot afford the cost of nurseries and day care. Increasing numbers of grandparents are taking youngsters along to Axbridge Family Group rather than mums and d
MORE and more grandparents are becoming childminders for their grandchildren - because parents cannot afford the cost of nurseries and day care.Increasing numbers of grandparents are taking youngsters along to Axbridge Family Group rather than mums and dads and club leader Sally Campbell believes this is due to the high cost of childcare.She said: "We have double the number of grandmothers than mothers who come along to the group. Parents would rather leave their child with a trusted grandparent than a carer, but it's also due to the cost."If you pay a child minder about £3 an hour and you've got two children you're forking out about £6, which is more than the minimum wage. Taking into account tax on your wages, you would have to have a reasonable salary to make it worthwhile."Joan Vizi, aged 72, of Moorland Street, Axbridge, is one of the many grandparents who has become a childminder in her retirement.Joan looks after her son Jozsef's children, Tyler, aged three, and Jasmine, aged one.Jozsef and Sumiko Vizi have been living in a caravan at the bottom of Joan and her husband's garden while they have been saving to build their own house.Joan said: "I have the children a few times a week. I'm in my 70s so it isn't as easy as it was, but it keeps me young. If their parents had to pay for childcare they could never have a roof over their heads. The cost of living is so expensive and it's just so hard for people like shop assistants and factory workers to afford to buy a home nowadays."Joan is one of six grandparents in the village who attend the family group with their grandchildren, which is held in Axbridge Church Rooms in The Square on Wednesdays.The group puts on a range of activities for the youngsters and offers carers a break.John Kirby, from Somerset County Council's children and young people's department, said: "Working parents have always turned to both registered childcare or extended family members, such as grandparents, to provide care for their children."Caring for children is a very important job and it is right that people doing this for a living are paid appropriately for doing so. Consequently childcare is not cheap. "However, the financial help for parents in paying for it has increased significantly in recent years with the availability of the nursery education grant and childcare tax credits to assist working parents.