25th March 2020 Guest Blog

LEYF Launches Capital’s Fourth Emergency Childcare Service to Keep Key Workers Functional

London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) has today responded to the Government’s call to provide essential childcare to keyworkers* during the coronavirus by operating as the Capital’s fourth emergency service.

LEYF, the UK’s largest childcare charity and social enterprise which operates 39 nurseries across London, has created a new logistical plan identifying which parents are essential workers and which children are the most vulnerable. Staff considered to be low risk have been aligned on a rota scheme across 25 of its nurseries – with strict measures to enforce social distancing and mitigate the risk of potential cross infections.

Whilst 14 nurseries will close today against a set of health and safety criteria, the remaining 25 will form hubs across London to ensure all children entitled to a nursery place can have one. Tighter hygiene practices are also being instigated as priority.

Nurseries are the lifeline in keeping people in work and the economy afloat which is why this essential service must be fully supported by the Government who announced last week that it will pay 80% of salary for staff who are kept on by their employer, covering wages of up to £2,500 a month. This will mean that nurseries can continue to operate on a reduced scale in the short term. 

“It’s imperative that the Government never forgets the efforts we will be making to support the NHS and keep key workers fully operational in order to serve the country during a time of crisis. Who would have anticipated that a virus we had never heard of could potentially be the last straw to the survival of the Early Years sector already weakened by years of under-funding? All the clichés about leading in a crisis are now being tested as we step up and look at what we can do to balance keeping our staff safe, the country functioning and our business going.”
June Osullivan LEYF
June O'Sullivan
CEO - London Early Years Foundation

For any key worker parents looking for emergency childcare, please contact customerservices@leyf.org.uk

*Key Workers
 Health and social care
Education and childcare
Key public services
Local and national government
Food and other necessary goods
Public safely and national security
Transport
Utilities, communication and financial services
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