Case study: Milnbank Housing Association.

Milnbank Housing Association is committed to supporting the childcare needs of both its employees as well as the local community and is proud of its sustainable nursery, Carbon Footprints, which opened in 2012 with Big Lottery funding.

Employees of Milnbank Housing Association receive a discount for the nursery, making childcare costs more affordable. The nursery is located close to the Association’s office, giving parents great peace of mind.

An Investors in People employer, Milnbank Housing Association always strives to support its employees to enable them to combine work and childcare where possible.

As well as offering up to 75 full-time equivalent affordable nursery places, Carbon Footprint – which is managed by Milnbank Housing Association – also operates after-school and summer clubs. The clubs are also offered to employees at a discounted rate.

The organisation endeavours to support its employees to access other childcare providers, in whichever way it can. That includes altering employee start/finish times to accommodate nursery places.

Employees are able to work from home, for example when their child is sick, and the organisation goes the extra mile where it can, for example special leave with full pay was granted to an employee during his child’s hospital stay. The Association has also reviewed and increased an employee’s salary to help cover nursery costs.

Senior child development officer Brenda was among Carbon Footprint Nursery’s first recruits, and her young son attended the nursery on a part-time basis.

When Brenda took maternity leave in February 2014, she used her 10 ‘keeping in touch days’ to give talks on promoting breast feeding to mums with children at Carbon Footprints Nursery.

During these visits, Brenda’s baby girl joined the nursery’s baby room. While on maternity leave, Brenda continued to use her staff discounted places at the nursery and was paid for attending training events. She is contracted to work 35 hours per week, and has flexible start/finish times.

Another Milnbank Housing Association employee, Lorraine, has a five-year-old daughter who is on the autistic spectrum and attends a school for children with additional support needs. Her daughter attended the 2015 summer club under her staff discount benefit.

Lorraine commented that her daughter really enjoyed her time at Carbon Footprints Nursery, and looked forward to going each day.

Said Lorraine, who has booked a summer holiday place for this year: “It was a huge relief as I could go to work knowing that she was being well looked after.”

Carbon Footprints Nursery - whose name reflects its commitment to environmentally friendly practices and low energy consumption also supports the local economy through home-grown employment opportunities.