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Childcare in Hackney, and indeed across London, is expensive (39% more expensive than outside London), often inflexible, and hard to secure, and as a result many artists, entrepreneurs, creatives and freelancers are struggling to continue their work whilst not giving up being hands-on parents. If this pilot project proves successful, V22 want to make childcare provision an integral part of all their studio and workspace buildings across London.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has already pledged his support to the project with a £6,000 pledge through Spacehive. He said: ‘I am delighted to be supporting projects like the V22 Workspace Crèche that will help strengthen local communities and help to make London an even greater city.’

The crèche facilities will attract new parents wanting to get back to work sooner and will thus support businesses, their staff, CEOs and founders as well as enable new businesses to start-up and freelance contracts to be fulfilled. More people (often those who are parents) are choosing to work freelance and on a part-time basis, and although co-working spaces are popping up all the time across the country, there is still much to be done to improve childcare options for parents, to enable and encourage them to work more flexibly and start new business ventures. Co-working spaces that offer childcare have the potential to be a brilliant solution to this workspace issue. Becoming a parent should not be a barrier to working creatively.

‘Whilst society has kept up with the flexible and creative ways we want to live and work, parenthood suddenly sends us back to the middle ages. Too often the greatest burden falls on women. There is no reason why we should have to choose between being great parents and great makers, the world just needs better solutions’. - Tara Cranswick, CEO of V22.

Some interesting stats:

- One third of mothers and a fifth of fathers with dependent children (Office of National Stats) work flexibly.

- Recent studies have shown that London has the lowest rate of parental employment in the country, with women disproportionately affected.

- In London, 60% of women with dependent children are in work, compared with 69% in the rest of the UK.

- The gender pay gap increases from 6% for 26 to 35-year-olds, to 20% for 36 to 45-year-olds.

- Less than 10% of UK companies offer workplace crèches – although parents say having childcare within the same building really helps with breastfeeding, with unpredictable working hours and minimises the time wasted dropping children off at childcare facilities.

- The UK is placed 18th in an international ranking on gender equality in the workplace, according to the World Economic Forum.

- A 2015 Harvard University study found that daughters of working mothers enjoyed better careers, higher pay and more equal relationships.

- There are just 8 childminders for every 1000 children under five in Hackney.

- Childcare in London is 39% more expensive than the national average for England. This is likely to be exacerbated, particularly for the under-threes, when demand for childcare significantly increases as a result of the Government's doubling of free childcare for the over-threes in 2017.

About V22:

V22 is a multifaceted art organisation, with a shared ownership structure, which specialises in the collection of contemporary art, the production of exhibitions and events, the provision of artists’ studios, workspaces and artisans’ workshops at affordable rates, and the running of community engagement and education programmes.

V22’s mission is to build a new kind of art institution. Through V22’s shared ownership model, key beneficiaries contribute to the decisions that affect V22 as well as its social impact and objectives. This means that the prevention of social ‘mission drift’ is intrinsically built into V22’s structure.

Our crèche:

V22’s first Workspace Crèche will be in its Dalston building on Ashwin Street. Partners include Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, The CoWork Space Co and OffiCrèche. V22 Collection artist Phillip Allen is moving upstairs to make space for the crèche and a children’s workshop area which is being run by the Garden. We are building 20 extra desk spaces so that more people can benefit from the crèche and parents will be prioritised as self-contained studios become available.

The Partnership with the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden brings significant benefits, providing users and children direct access to a valuable managed green space and educational programme.

‘As freelancers we seemingly have it great because we can arrange our own work life, but really all this means is giving up our work for our babies. It is still disproportionately women who have to make this sacrifice. I would argue that the lack of affordable flexible childcare is now the greatest barrier to women making their place in the world, and to men being more than secondary parents to their children while they are still very young’. – V22 Artist

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