A KELTY childminder will be at the forefront of a pilot scheme to help Fife parents get back into employment.

Anna Marfani is one of 100 childminders that are being asked to sign up to the 'Access to Childminding' (A2C) service, which aims to help move more parents and carers into employment by matching them with professional childminders in their local area who can provide flexible childcare, before and after school.

The scheme is being piloted initially in City of Edinburgh, Dumfries & Galloway, Fife, Midlothian and North Lanarkshire, with the aim of it becoming available more widely across the country.

It has received £250,000 of funding from the Scottish Government’s Access to Childcare Fund and the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) is seeking a bank of childminders to match with the parents and carers of school-age children.

Anna said: “I’m participating in the Access to Childminding initiative because I know that finding affordable, high-quality childcare locally can be difficult – especially for families who need flexible before and after school care which fits around their working day.

"I thought A2C was a really great way for me to help parents who are finding childcare a barrier to getting back into work.

"I hope it makes a difference to know that childminding could support them. I’m also really excited to welcome any new families to my setting who may not have previously considered childminding as an option.

“Other childminders in Fife who might be interested in putting themselves forward should go for it! I found the process of signing up to take part really easy and there wasn’t too much paperwork, which was great.”

A2C aims to help increase household income and families will benefit from high-quality, flexible childcare provided locally.

In turn, it can help childminders to increase their business sustainability by providing access to new families who may have been unaware of how flexible childminding can support their family life.

Janine Ryan, head of childminding services at SCMA, said: “One of the barriers to parents being able to move into employment is being able to find affordable childcare locally.

"We believe A2C will really support that initial step into employment for parents with school-age children – and they’ll have peace of mind that their child is receiving professional, high-quality and nurturing childcare while they take that exciting step back into work."

Funded placements are offered for up to 12 weeks for before and after school care during term-time, as well as during holiday periods.

Childminders, parents and referral agencies who are interested in finding out more about the project should visit www.childminding.org/access-to-childminding or email a2c@childminding.org