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Caithness News Bulletins April 2004

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A survey is being carried out by The Caithness Childcare and Family Resource Partnership to find out what sorts of childcare people in Caithness want and what factors are important to them when they choose childcare.

Survey forms have gone out to a sample of parents in four areas of the County over the last few weeks.

Lindsay Gunn, the Partnership project officer said: "Provision of childcare, or the lack of it, is becoming an important issue in the area these days. It may be that there are people who are unable to take up jobs or training opportunities because of a lack of childcare which is holding back the local economic development.

"This survey lets people tell us what they want. We have had a great response so far but we need forms to be returned as soon as possible so that we can plan for the 2004/05 financial year. The Partnership will use the information gathered so we can direct our efforts and investment where it will be most useful. Similar surveys elsewhere have shown that there is under provision of childminders for young children and a big demand for facilities before and after regular school hours for older children."

Russell Smith who is an experienced researcher employed by the Partnership to carry out the project said: "The survey is completely confidential and we supply a pre-paid envelope so all it takes is a couple of minutes of time to fill it in and drop in the post box. The
cut off date for returns is the 16th of April. We also want to hear from parents who don't use any form of childcare so please return the form if you have got one."

The survey has gone to parents of children aged 0 to 14 years old in the Canisbay, Halkirk, Wick South and Lybster school catchment areas. If anyone living in these areas did not receive a form then they can contact Russell on 0789 989 6001 and he will post one out. If anybody who lives in other parts of Caithness wants to comment on childcare provision in Caithness then they should write to Lindsay Gunn at the Highland Council Social Work Department at 125 High Street, Wick.

The Caithness Childcare and Family Resource Partnership is made up of representatives from The Highland Council; Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise; Caithness Voluntary Group; Scottish Childminding Association, Highland Pre-School Services, Highland NHS; Out of School Clubs, Homestart, Job Centre Plus, Ormlie Community Association, and Pultneytown Peoples Project. The aim of Partnership is to identify unmet childcare and family needs within the local area and promote the expansion of childcare. The majority of the funding for the Partnership comes from The Scottish Executive through the Childcare Strategy.