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Emergency childcare scheme for workers in the performing arts will launch in 2019

Parents in Performing Arts founders Anna Ehnold-Danailov and Cassie Raine
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A ‘game-changing’ scheme that will provide workers in the performing arts with access to last-minute childcare is launching in 2019.

The initiative looks set to address the unpredictable working patterns faced by parents in the sector. A recent poll conducted by campaign group Parents and Carers in Performing Arts found that 76% of carers had to turn down work because of childcare responsibilities. The research also found that 44% of women had to change roles due to childcare duties, compared with 23% of male carers.

PIPA has now partnered with My Family Care – an organisation that works with businesses to provide emergency care solutions – to offer people working in the sector access to flexible ad-hoc childcare, school holiday cover, registered childminders and vetted nannies.

The PIPA My Family Care pilot will launch in January. It is being backed by Equity and Spotlight, whose members, alongside individuals referred by PIPA’s partners, will be able to access a range of services and support across the UK.

The scheme will also offer backup adult and eldercare, for those with other caring responsibilities.

Actor Charlotte Riley has backed the new initiative, describing access to flexible childcare as “crucial”.

“I am really proud to support the PIPA My Family Care Pilot- a potential game changer for our industry. Cast and crew work crazy hours, long, late and last minute, across the whole entertainment industry. Access to flexible childcare is crucial. PIPA’s recent research identified that 8 out of 10 freelancers with caring responsibilities had to turn down work because of childcare issues. How many missed opportunities is that?,” she said.

She added: “While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, we’ve got to have options. If you don’t have family nearby to parachute in at the last minute, for many, and especially mothers, it means you can’t do the job. As an Equity member, I for one will be signing up for the trial.”

PIPA co-founder Cassie Raine said the industry would “continue to struggle” without the childcare solutions offered by the scheme.

“The PIPA Balancing Act survey identified a workforce reliant on family and partners to provide ad-hoc childcare. Not only is this is unsustainable, for many it is unavailable and results in missed work opportunities,” she said.

Kelly Burke, chair of Equity’s women’s committee, described access to “flexible, reliable childcare” as “essential if women are to have equal access to work, and continuity and longevity in their careers”.

“If we wish to see a vibrant and diverse workforce, then it is the industry’s duty to address this lack of crucial support. Access to care has the ability to be career-changing for workers of all ages and genders,” she added.

The scheme will run throughout the whole of 2019, offering 500 registered users access to support, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Further information can be found here.

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