Making childcare easier for freelance parents

Published on: 28 Apr 2017

IT’S A chicken and egg situation for too many parents. They need to work to provide for their children. But they can’t work because they can’t find childcare – or afford to pay for it.

Now two South Bristol mums are trying to close that gap with an idea they call Caboodle – providing affordable childcare for freelance workers who might need care at short notice.

The big idea is that Caboodle will also be a workspace – so parents won’t have to travel to work after leaving their child.

They won’t be far away if their child needs them – and they will be surrounded by a community of other working parents.

It’s the brainchild of working mums Eleanor Christmas and Isobel Kearney. Both from Southville, they realised that they were both finding it difficult to work as much as they would like. 

A quick survey of others who attend the Freelance Mum group at Windmill Hill City Farm got more than 70 responses.

“A lot of people are struggling to get their business off the ground,” said Eleanor. “Some of them are having to turn down work because they cannot get childcare, or they aren’t able to accept projects at short notice.

“Plus there’s a shortage of childcare generally, and the good settings have waiting lists.”

The pair see Caboodle as a place where people can rent desk space, while elsewhere in the building, qualified nursery workers are looking after their children. They want a place which will accept children at short notice, and not demand a commitment to regular times. 

It could also become a community that offers support in parenting, as well as a network of freelance workers, perhaps with mentoring and training as well.

Eleanor and Isabel are talking to possible venues across South Bristol. They hope to get grants to pay for start-up costs, and maybe charge a membership fee.

They aim to be running pop-up events by September, while looking for a long-term venue. 

If you’d like to find out more about Caboodle, or you can offer support to the project, especially in managing the childcare, email or

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