During the Covid-19 pandemic, the importance of the NHS has never been clearer. Our doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers have put themselves on the frontlines in order to keep all of us safe.
It has been imperative, therefore, that NHS staff are available for their shifts – even with the rest of society on lockdown. We knew that with schools, nurseries and other regular childcare facilities closed indefinitely, parents in the NHS would struggle to arrange the alternative childcare they needed to carry out their work.
Although we were out there clapping for our key workers, we also wanted to do something more tangible to provide them with the support they needed at this difficult time. Given that our company’s mission is to provide flexible childcare, including ad hoc and at short notice, we were eager to step up and be of service.
After discussing how best we could support our communities through this time, we committed to providing free childcare to NHS staff. Our service connects NHS workers with childcare volunteers in their local community who are willing to help out for free.
The idea behind the initiative came from numerous conversations with doctors, med students, clinicians and epidemiologists, all of whom are hugely concerned with the acute childcare crisis facing parents in the NHS and its impact on their ability to work.
We hope that our help will enable more of them to make it to their shifts and care for their patients in need, whilst also easing their considerable burden at home.
Launching the campaign: 10,000 hours requested
We launched the volunteer childcare service in the Bubble app, allowing an NHS Parent to have their childcare requests matched with local volunteer sitters. We also waived our usual booking fees, so the end-to-end service is entirely free.
The service has been widely used, with an incredible 10,000 hours of voluntary childcare being requested by NHS staff through the app. We are also incredibly grateful to have received so much support from the public, as well as from those in the public eye such as Rachel Riley and Giovanna Fletcher.
In launching this campaign we partnered with the National Health Supporters, an umbrella group aimed at reducing the pressures on NHS staff through support with childcare and domestic help. Many medical and healthcare students signed up as volunteer sitters, keen to support their future NHS colleagues as much as possible.
In addition, hundreds of existing Bubble sitters were also eager to help out. Many of the volunteers who have opted in so far are the wonderful nannies, nursery workers and teachers who make up our community.
The team have been working around the clock to get the campaign launched quickly, and we will now be refining it as we go and continuing to recruit volunteers. We hope that our support can make even a small difference to the mums and dads in our phenomenal health service.
Below is a picture of Sam, a Med school student in Edinburgh, and one of the leaders of the volunteer drive. The endeavour and selflessness of students like him inspired us to act – you can read his account of why he’s doing it here.
If you’re a parent in the NHS – in any capacity – please go to our FAQ page to learn more about how to sign up to the service.
If you’re a volunteer who would like to help out, please visit our volunteer FAQ page here.
If you’re not working in the NHS but know of people who are, or simply want to help us share the campaign, then please refer people online to our information page here. Any support you can lend us in making this campaign a success would be wonderful.
If you are an NHS Parent who needs childcare to work, or a volunteer who can help, you can download the relevant app from the links below.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
From all of Team Bubble, thank you.