Spotlight on…Sarah and Andrew Hayton

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Childminders at Hayton Family Childcare, Northumberland


Andrew and Sarah Hayton

Why did you decide to go from police officers to childminders?

At first, being in the police was a great career choice, but when children came along it became impossible to sustain. If you’re in the squad car and see an incident on the way back from a shift, you have to deal with it, whatever time of day it is.

What was the catalyst for change?

Andrew was called to a house where a young boy had witnessed a distressing domestic incident. Drew took him to his childminder and saw a transformation in the boy, who immediately relaxed as there was clearly such a strong bond between them. Drew found out the childminder was part of a husband and wife childminding team, which was the inspiration he needed. He immediately began researching.

How did you fund training and equipment?

We applied for a loan through the Business Enterprise Fund. The PACEY HBCA gave us a great kick-start and we got a £500 Government Business Grant. We joined the Northumberland Childminder Agency and at our first inspection received a ‘good’ – a real achievement when we were both completely new to childcare.

How did your police experience help you?

It helped us establish credibility and trust. It won’t be a surprise that two children of police officers were our first customers. A lot of childminders worry about the amount of paperwork, but after the police, Drew and I found this a walk in the park.

How have your new roles changed your family life?

Our sons have relished having more time with us. When the children go home for the day, we turn around a whiteboard, which has ‘next steps’ on one side and a photo of our family on the back. This helps us reclaim our home. It has been a wonderful journey of discovery, learning more about ourselves, as well as helping our family grow into our new ‘normal’. We are reporting a profit and have a sense of pride that we did it ourselves. We had a plan, made it happen and never looked back.

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