Please send the below to your MP/MSP. If you would like updates on the petitions progression please join our Providers Facebook group.
Subject: My business is at risk due to the absence of government guidelines
Dear [insert name of MP/MSP],
I am the owner of [Your business name and what you do]. I am writing because the government is not providing enough support for baby & toddler classes to return covid safely, and my business and thousands of others are at risk.
The government has now published guidelines for children’s after-school and holiday activities, where they attend alone, or for adult exercise classes – but no such guidelines have been created for under 5 classes where parents attend alongside their children. Other MPs have suggested these guidelines to providers writing to them, but they specifically say they are not for classes with children AND parents/carers attending and so it is proving difficult to persuade venues to host my classes.
The advice is conflicting and confusing – making it impossible to reopen classes safely.
I run a class for [insert ages] and since March I’ve [state what support or lack thereof you’ve been able to access from government e.g. I’ve had no support from the government despite my business being forced to stop operating by the lockdown.]
At the moment, despite “baby playgroups” being excluded from the 6 max, business have to adhere to guidelines. However as per the above, there are no guidelines for me to adhere to. And therefore my venue/insurer is saying I cannot run.
In addition, there is a lot of equipment I need to purchase to ensure classes can run safely and there is a longer changeover times between classes. Indoor venues are charging us higher prices because of additional cleaning and infection control, and there is unprecedented demand for public outdoor spaces.
It is not possible, or economical for me to run classes at present, and therefore I am suffering a longer closure whilst other businesses have been permitted to return.
All around, I see camps and clubs with children over the age of 5 now returning – but our sector, worth around £2bn to the UK economy, has been overlooked. Children in our classes are at low risk from covid, and parents attending these classes are typically under the age of 40.
Please would you ask the government to urgently update their guidelines to include for under 5s with children and adults attending together, so that baby & toddler classes can start once again in-person.
Most providers have not been able to access support as they fell through the gaps of government policies. Many are already shut or will do soon. [More information on your situation if relevant]
Children’s Centres have faced years of underinvestment and closure. Local families depend on our services to gain peer support in the community, for their mental wellbeing, and to help socialise their babies.
Even if classes are able to return soon, it’s clear they will have to operate at much higher prices in the past – leaving many vulnerable families without access to our services.
I ask that you also ask the government to consider a voucher scheme or similar to support both parents and businesses in our sector at this time.
Please, so that I can get my livelihood back, and help local parents and young children in our community, ask the government to urgently publish clear guidelines and review providing vouchers for this sector.