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Working parents struggle to cope with lack of childcare places
02 Sep 2015
by Simon Alton

Working parents are struggling to cope during the summer holidays according to a national charity, which has warned that the current system is at breaking point.

The Family and Childcare Trust found that every single council area in the West Midlands – including Shropshire – did not have enough childcare places during the school holidays for children aged 12 and over.

And 92 per cent of council areas did not have enough childcare for working parents with children of any age, according to the Trust’s 2015 Holiday Childcare Survey.

In Shropshire, managers at a children’s sports coaching company which runs holiday clubs said they had been inundated with requests for extra sessions by parents.

Ball Sports Community Coaching, which provides sports camps across Shropshire for children as young as three years old, has had a record year due to high demand for its service.

Neil Prescott, joint managing director, said: “We get lots of calls from parents looking for reasonably priced placements for their children every year.

“It’s pretty much impossible for parents to book time off work for the whole of the school summer holidays, and finding appropriate childcare is becoming more and more difficult.

“At Ball Sports, we do our best to provide a low cost service in which children are not only looked after well, but are given a structured set of fun sporting activities to do during the day.”

The Family and Childcare Trust’s chief executive, Stephen Dunmore, said more needed to be done to ensure parents had access to affordable childcare.

He said: “These are worrying findings at a time when the Government is pushing through its ambitious and welcome plans to make childcare more affordable for parents.

“It is time for action on the Cinderella service that is holiday childcare, otherwise many parents will struggle to hold down a job or find their summer plans in tatters.”

Ball Sports Community Coaching has seen a record number of children at its holiday camps so far this summer, and managers said they understood the importance of making the sessions affordable for parents.

The Holiday Childcare Survey found the average weekly price for holiday clubs in the West Midlands was £115 – Ball Sports sessions are £12 a day or £10 for members.

Mr Prescott said: “Our philosophy is to offer kids a fun environment where they can learn about teamwork and improve their sports development.

“It’s hugely important that the opportunity to participate in sport is open to as many people as possible so we work hard to keep the cost to parents low.”

Holiday clubs are currently taking place at Oswestry School and Market Drayton Cricket Club. To book a place or to find out more information contact (01952) 455510 or visit www.ballsportscoaching.co.uk