Lack of childcare makes life on the island difficult

Parents in the island of Alderney say a shortage of childcare facilities is making island life unattractive to young families.One mother said her husband had to give up his job to look after their children because of the lack of childcare.

One pre-school for children aged two to four is available in Alderney but it closes at 14:00 BST and parents say there are very few independent carers.

The States is carrying out a review of what childcare is available.

A second pre-school only takes children for the year before they start school.

The island has a population of about 2,000 people.

Sophie Watley a nurse and mother of two, said her husband had to give up his £40,000-a-year job to care for their children.

She said: “The financial hit for us has been really big.

“If you had more childcare I think you’d attract more young families and that’s what the island needs.”

Heather Winder, manager of the pre-school, said it was a situation she was all too familiar with.

“I’ve got one set of parents here who can only work alternate days because they couldn’t find anyone to look after their younger child,” she said.

“One lady got in touch with me saying she needed more then we can provide.

“I’m having to say ‘I’m sorry there isn’t anything at the moment.'”

Parents have said they want more child carers and a bespoke childcare centre on the island.

Mrs Winder said if the States wanted to attract young families to the island to tackle the aging population childcare provisions must be improved.

States of Alderney member Ian Carter said a centre would be more of a long-term aspiration but added the States was listening to parents’ concerns.

He said: “It’s heartbreaking some of the stories.

“We’ve put in a place a review so we know what we need and then obviously the key thing is action but at the moment it is a waiting game.”

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