Co-op Childcare has launched a new initiative to support families who have been impacted by redundancy as a result of the pandemic.

The nursery group, which is owned by The Midcounties Co-operative, says its Helping Hands redundancy support programme is designed to take pressure off parents who may be facing uncertainty about their employment.

The support is available to families where one, or both, parents or carers have been made redundant between 1st April 2020 and 31st December 2020.

From November until the end of the year, Co-op Childcare, which operates the Little Pioneers nurseries in Newbiggin,

Newburn and Newcastle are offering qualifying families two free childcare sessions and 50% off any additional session every week for up to six weeks.

The nursery group is also providing families with free half-hour virtual consultations with its childcare finance specialist, who can help them understand what other support is available to them.

Anyone who makes a permanent booking for their child will have their registration fee waived, and will be offered flexible payment terms as well as the first week’s childcare for free.

The offer is subject to availability and parents should check the Co-op Childcare website for full terms and conditions.

Sally Bonnar, chief operating officer of the Childcare Group at The Midcounties Co-operative, said: “As one of the UK’s leading co-operatives, we are focused on supporting our members and communities and doing the right thing by them.

“We know this is an extremely challenging time for many and hope our Helping Hands initiative will help parents and carers by giving them a bit of breathing space as they look for new opportunities, as well as offer guidance and advice around their childcare.

“Ultimately, we’re here to provide a safe and happy environment for children and we will keep working to support our communities however we can.”

It comes after The Midcounties Co-operative provided childcare support worth more than £40,000 to key workers during lockdown through its Frontline Hero Support Fund, as well as Co-op Childcare being named as one of the top 20 nursery groups in the UK by daynurseries.co.uk.

The group kept a third of its nurseries fully open during the coronavirus lockdown earlier in the year, focusing on sites closest to hospitals to provide easy access to childcare for NHS staff.

And they invested in ensuring children were able to continue with key initiatives such as the Generation Play scheme, linking children up with residents at local old peoples’ homes, and holding video calls, writing letters and making gifts for their elderly friends while they couldn’t meet face-to-face.

For more information, please visit: https://www.littlepioneers.coop/redundancy-support/

For full terms and conditions of Co-op Childcare’s service please visit: https://www.littlepioneers.coop/policies/terms-and-conditions/