Top performing childcare agency partners with local foodbank

Top performing childcare agency partners with local foodbank

Suffolk Childcare Agency (more commonly known as SCA) based in Wickham Market, has recently partnered with the Ipswich Family Bank to support families and individuals in need in the local area.

Founded in 2016, the SCA has a growing reputation as being one of the top performing childcare agencies in England.  Earlier this year they had their second inspection report published which was not only rated effective but was a glowing statement of how good they are.

Childcare agencies were brought into play by the Government in 2014 to offer childminders an alternative to registering with Ofsted, however, in a slightly unusual situation, the childcare agency itself has to be registered with Ofsted!  In effect, the agency is being scored by its only competitor!

Not content with providing a quality childminding service to parents both in East Anglia and further afield, Agency CEO, Claire Chapman jumped at the chance to use her premises as an outreach base to work alongside the Ipswich Family Bank.  Claire explains:

“I am acutely aware of the financial difficulties that some families have encountered over the last few years.  As well as running the SCA, I also have my own childminding business and I have seen first-hand the vulnerable circumstances that some of the communities are facing. One of my staff members linked me with the Ipswich Family Bank and after several conversations with Michelle and her team, we put ourselves forward to be a rural branch of the organisation”.

Michelle, alongside Angela, Tracey and a dedicated team of volunteers started Ipswich Family Bank back in the first lockdown under the umbrella of Suffolk Baby Bank. They initially focused on baby supplies – formula, nappies, wipes etc– but soon grew, with the help of Morrisons Ipswich, to also become a food bank.  Having filled Michelle’s living room and then the allotment community shed, a hall was found and support from other major supermarkets such as Asda Ipswich soon followed.

“We also accept donations of home living, children’s clothes and other core items, including cots, buggies, highchairs etc” highlights Michelle “And as well as receiving requests directly, we get referrals from a number of professional agencies.  It’s great to have Claire on board as we know there are families further afield who need our services, so to have additional services in this rural location will be a great asset”.

The long-term aim is for Wickham Family Bank to work independently, which will give them the ability to apply for grants directly and accept direct referrals, meantime, they will work alongside Ipswich Family Bank.

In their report, Ofsted describe Claire as someone: ‘… who brings her aspirational vision for the agency and the services provided to life’.  This new offering, run voluntarily by the SCA team, highlights this statement and acknowledges Claire’s dedication to supporting children and their families.

Claire concludes:

“I am so enthusiastic about this sector.  My team and I understand what a privilege it is to be able to support the future generations through our fantastic network of childminders and now, with the Wickham Family Bank, we have the potential to help those families and individuals who really need the extra support in these challenging times, to allow them breathing space”.

To find out more visit the Suffolk Childcare Agency website

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