View Full Version : do any of you attend your local childminding support group?

01-03-2010, 02:28 PM
I live in Northern Ireland and we went through the whole process of constituting a Support Group 3 years ago. We have held weekly Drop-Ins, night meetings now and again and had special events but cannot raise our numbers beyond the same 8 childminders. I know there are 59 in our area but we just cannot seem to get anyone else to participate.

We (the Support Development Worker with local Childminding Association) are planning on a questionnaire just to see what peoples opinions are on the Support Group - whether it is a question of no transport, clashing with nursery pick ups or other toddler groups being held at the same time, genuinely not interested or whether it is a case of doing the wrong thing that is not meeting their specific need.

Does anyone attend their local Support Group? If so what do you do at it? Do you have good numbers attending? What do you do that really gets people coming to events? What sort of things did you come across that were seen as a barrier and how did you overcome these?

01-03-2010, 04:15 PM
No i wouldn't go to mine again!

I went once when i just got my cert and before i had any mindees. I took along my son (but no-one spoke to me so no-one would even know he was my son and not a mindee iyswim).

12 minders sat on their chairs- no spares were available and i wasn't shown where to find one. No-one even said "help yourself to a drink" or similar. I spent the whole time playing with my son (which was fine but i had gone along to make friends and network with other minders.

The one solitary thing someone said to me was "Did you sign in?".

I have been registered now almost a year and wouldn't return if you paid me!

Sorry that probably wasn't what you wanted to hear!

Good luck with yours though x

01-03-2010, 04:25 PM
MInstrel - they should be ashamed of themselves :angry:

I go to my support group every week. We run it as a toddler group and each week we take turns to run an activity. It is a friendly group and we all muck in with the kids and making tea etc etc. I couldn't do the job without it and have made some great friends through it.

I find it quite sad when I hear how some groups seem to go out of their way to be intimidating and unfirendly.

01-03-2010, 04:32 PM

I co-ordinate my local group single handedly and here are the barriers that I have identified so far:

We meet in the children's centre and we aren't allowed hot drinks.... some people won't come cos they can't have a cuppa!

The early years team are hostile towards the group as they SHOULD be running groups but aren't so they feel threatened by ours, therefore they won't pass the word around to other minders/ let me go to meetings and promote the group

some minders have nursery runs/ children being dropped off with them midway through the morning so cannot do the slot that we have, or children sleep, or it's a hassle and they just can't be bothered to come out in the winter weather!

We only have a fortnightly slot and the children's centre change our meeting time and day every term when they plan their schedule... the lack of consistency makes people forget it i think

We have just a handful that come all the time and it is hard work keeping going when no-one else seems to come, but i organise activities and training based on the needs and wishes of those who do come.... so it is worth it and we are really making some progress. We have a tree-planting event coming up and I'm hoping the press will cover it and get us some coverage..... the problem with early years also is that they won't let the children's centre put my name and number on the poster as according to EY I 'shouldn't be co-ordinating the group', therefore when new people ring up, they get the party line from the children's centre and not my enthusiasm, we have some project proposals in the pipeline to apply for funding for various quality improvement projects so that may attract more, but to do that we had to be a no-profit organisation independent from EY (no probs with that one!!!).

Hope some of that helps, at the end of the day if people are motivated to improve and learn and develop they will et involved but if they are happy resting where they are, they aren't going to come to a support group!

Good luck, I'd be interested to see the results of the questionnaire!
:) Jenni

01-03-2010, 05:02 PM
I run two in different parts of the town (it was three but stopped that one because I was the only one going).

At my first one - I have the same core group of 6-8 minders and a few more who are not regulars. Being a support minder to newbies I strongly encourage them to attend but I find the biggest hurdle to be the established group who come across as stand-offish.
me- I am quite a breeze in and get where the wind doesn't person - talk to people so that sort of behaviour doesn't bother me personally but i get really cross when its done to people - I know it can be really tough to walk into a unknown group. I don't think my lot deliberately make themselves unfriendly but they do come across like that unfortunately because the are so set in their ways and view everyone else (including me) as the enemy. We all take it in turns to do the activity and while I clear up - they do the songs and actions time. I have tried running parties - ie xmas/easter. I make sure people are introduced, where things are etc, really try to make them welcome and feel they are part of it.
The staff at teh CC - including the EYP's are really helpful and friendly - well to me at least but that is because I respect them and vice versa. I have even managed to co-ordinate with one of them about running a session.:thumbsup:

At the other drop in - the barriers there are transport for people but is slowly gett ing a few more to attend - what we have started doing with that one is having an overall focus - like last session it was Risk Assessment, next one is about CLL - ECaT, next one is treasure baskets/heuristic play.

The thing is - (that i have had to accept) you can lead a horse to water......

01-03-2010, 05:09 PM
The thing is - (that i have had to accept) you can lead a horse to water......

Sad, but true but so helpful to the ones that do come, that it is worth it to keep doing it!


01-03-2010, 05:12 PM
Sad, but true but so helpful to the ones that do come, that it is worth it to keep doing it!


true true. I enjoy doing the drop ins tbh - even though they can be really hard work at times - no the (some) people can be really hard work at times!
i just keep thinking that if little by little we can get the newbies coming through - attitudes will slowly change. I tell the newbies - childminding doesn't have to be a lonely or isolating job.

01-03-2010, 05:44 PM
true true. I enjoy doing the drop ins tbh - even though they can be really hard work at times - no the (some) people can be really hard work at times!
i just keep thinking that if little by little we can get the newbies coming through - attitudes will slowly change. I tell the newbies - childminding doesn't have to be a lonely or isolating job.

That is exactly why I started the group... I'm still a relative newbie, been minding for just over twelve months, although registered for a few months before that whilst looking for work, and I found it sooo lonely and isolating and i don't want others to feel like that!!!!


01-03-2010, 05:50 PM
We had one on a Thursday morning but numbers dwindled and the Church we held it in put its prices up. We now have two in my area one on a Tuesday morning and one on a Thursday morning. Our local network co-ordinator attends (but not always) and two girls from the children centre where the group is come in to help play with the children. Numbers vary but sometimes there is just two of us which is disappointing.

01-03-2010, 06:42 PM
i'm so lucky with my local CMs I've only been registered a little while and they've all been so supportive and friendly my local network support lady came round to help me with a pre pre inspection visit and told me i was very lucky with the local CMs as they are a lot nicer and sharing than other areas she works with. theirs a local drop in once every two weeks at the local sure start center and it is always pretty full one of the CMs said they see at as a treat going as the resources are sooo good and i agree. Also a couple of cms run a few toddler groups in the area which is a good place to catch up i was picking their brains on risk assessments this morning ! but don't know if this makes any difference (I'm sure they would be just as lovely ) but they are mainly all full which may help. Just got to get them on here !

01-03-2010, 07:03 PM
We have a group 2x's a week on a tues and a Fri.

i don't work Tuesdays so don't go as I don't want to waste my day - sounds harsh but our cm group is just a tot group with cm's who all sit around moaning about ofsted and parents - It is a tiny small room with children everywhere that you can't even walk around without the fear of stepping on someones little fingers.

On fridays they hold it waaaaayy of the other side of town and I can't get there without walking 2.5 miles or more

I would go if I worked Tuesdays though, but feel no real need tbh.
I have SueM up the road from me, a Dev officer on the other end of the phone if I need her, and a good friend cm who I speak to up the school every day who goes to the group and I see other minders who I talk to up the schools .

01-03-2010, 08:09 PM
I attend my local support group each week and as others have said it's mainly the same people each week. We do have a few newer members but a lot of the minders who have been minding for a long time are not interested/don't bother

Chatterbox Childcare
01-03-2010, 08:14 PM
I run my local group and we meet once a month for a couple of hours. It is very casual and the kids have fun and games and we discuss our training needs and plan activities.

It is very hit and miss how many come to the meetings - we have 22 on our books and attending we have anything from 8 to 14 there at any one time.

01-03-2010, 09:03 PM
I attend mine once a month.

There's only 2 of us in our town minding - 1 who attends but isnt minding and needs to retire! We also try and recruit extra people from the villages and towns around.

We normally have between 3 and 6! (mostly 3!)

We dont see our DO there - must invite her! :rolleyes:

I'm lucky that the other minder in town is in her 50's, friendly and helpful.

We use the CC so dont have any overheads. We are allowed coffees, behind the safety gate- so thats ok!

Rachel x

02-03-2010, 01:16 PM
I won't be going mine again forgot to go the last meeting, and subs were due, another minder told me they read my name out as not paid subs not very impressed at all, and half the information they gave us last time was incorrect according to my DO

Straws xx