'Pay as you go' childcare service gives flexibility

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A combined workspace and on-site 'pay-as-you-go' creche launches next week in south London.


Shazia Mustafa, a mother of two, came up with the idea after she came to appreciate the need for flexible childcare following the birth of her first child.

'A friend and I wanted to brainstorm ideas for a business, but as both of us had babies with us, we found it very difficult,' said Ms Mustafa. 'I wished there was somewhere we could go to work productively for a few hours, knowing that our children were being well looked after. And that's when the idea hit me - to create a flexible workspace with on-site childcare, operated on a pay-as-you-go basis.

'I discussed it with my husband Yusuf, who was studying for an MBA, and we agreed he'd do his dissertation on it. After receiving a distinction for it, we realised we were on to something.'

The idea will now be put into practice at 2,700 square feet in Wandsworth spread over two floors with the creche, 'a large, bright, airy space' downstairs and workspace upstairs.

The creche will be open from 8.30am to 5pm for up to 24 children. There is no outdoor play area, but it is less than three minutes' walk to a large park.

Ms Mustafa said, 'It is designed to be a space that is used flexibly and will act as a complementary facility for those parents who also use a regular nursery, childminder or nanny but who need extra childcare occasionally.'

Parents will be able to book a meeting room or a hot desk, combined with a place in the creche, enabling those who do not have set working hours to save money on paying for both the overheads associated with running their own office and nursery fees.

'Most importantly, it gives parents the flexibility they need. Parents often find themselves on waiting lists just to get their child a spot and often don't get the days or times they need. For people with varying levels of work, this inflexibility costs them a fortune,' Ms Mustafa said.

She also said it gives home-workers the chance to meet like-minded parents and share ideas.

Parents will have to give 48 hours' notice for bookings by phone or online. Fees will vary, but the pay-as-you-go rate is £25 per hour for both the childcare and workspace, which includes free wifi and meeting facilities.



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