by Sally-Ann Potter
Blossom and Bloom Day Nursery
The word ‘struggle’ is by definiton to ‘make forceful efforts to get free of restraint or constriction’. So really, using the word ‘struggle’ to describe the financial difficulties so many are facing isn’t too dramatic when you think about it. The rising cost of living has seen children being stripped of ‘luxuries’ that were previously a standard part of their childhood. Swimming lessons, language lessons, playdates, day trips – all the things you enjoy doing with your children that were potentially taken for granted before our energy prices rose, and paying £400 per month for your electricity meant you perhaps could no longer afford these extra curricular activities.
Working so closely with a wide variety of families, some who know financial struggle and live hand-to-mouth and some who don’t, it has become apparent that there isn’t anyone who isn’t negatively affected by the cost of living crisis.
I’ve spoken to families who are broken; who are coming into nursery and saying they’re on their last nappy and won’t be paid for another few days, who have run out of baby milk for their newborn or because their electric meter has been cut off and it’s freezing cold.
Some days it feels as though we are living in a really depressing feature film. The damage the pandemic did to people’s mental health seems minimal compared to the pressure to keep a roof over your head and provide for your family.
So, what can we do to help each other out? Where are we able to be a bit more selfless and make a difference? Little ripples of kindess could turn into big waves and be the change we need. Maybe something as small as putting a tin of beans in the food bank at the supermarket is the most you can manage. Have you ever opened a packet of nappies, used one and realised they’re the wrong size and you can’t return them? Perhaps you could pass them onto a friend or your nursery? If you’re not able to offer any financial support, maybe you have some clothes you can donate to a clothing bank? It might seem like it isn’t significant but it is. Sometimes we don’t see the benefit of our kindness and that’s OK. It’s OK to do something to help someone without knowing if it ever did help. It probably did and that’s enough.
I live in a community that regularly sees overwhelming acts of kindness. For example, there is a house down the road which has put a shed up in their front garden that offers food that struggling families can go and help themsleves to. People maybe don’t take advantage of it, but it’s respected and appreciated and lots of people donate in order to help each other out.
We have recently opened a baby bank at our nursery. Parents can discreetly go and help themselves to anything in there that they might need. They have a code to help themselves at any time. We reached out to our local community for donations and had an amazing response. We have donations of formula, nappies, baby wipes, baby clothes and toys.
As a setting, we have taken the decision to freeze our prices, offer two meals a day for free and introduce a policy that we only charge paying parents for the hours they are using, meaning they no longer have to pay childcare fees when their child is poorly and they have to take an unpaid day from work to care for them.
What if every single person did something small to help a stranger? What would the world look like then?
For more information please contact Sally-Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07939 620934 www.pottershousepreschool.co.uk www.blossomandbloomdaynursery.co.uk