High demand for child care in Cromwell has led to Barnardos expanding its services to offer a home-based child care service.
    Barnardos Early Learning Centre Cromwell has a full waitlist until June-July 2023, especially for babies, as do other early learning centres in the rapidly growing town.
    Barnardos community coordinator Sally Kemp said the demand for child care in Cromwell was significantly high, and the organisation wanted to meet the needs of the community by providing the service.
    ‘‘People have been waiting to get their children into child care before they can go back to work or, alternatively, taking them through to Alexandra,’’ she said.
    Willows Early Learning Centre Cromwell manager Sally Cameron said their roll was full until the end of next year, as a result of a lot of people moving to the town.
    ‘‘They find work and arrange accommodation and then have to find child care,’’ she said.
    ‘‘I have known of one family who have not been able to take up work because they could not get child care.’’
    Barnardos visiting teacher Shelley Cornish said home-based care was also an opportunity for parents of young children to earn an income while caring for their own children at home.
    All educators would undergo police and reference checks, before Barnardos paid for them to take an 18-week course that they would graduate with a Level 4 Certificate in child care.
    Miss Kemp said the roles offered educators flexible hours and the chance to work from home.
    ‘‘We wrap around an intensive support programme to support our educators, including administration, marketing and business support, first aid training and a Certificate in Early Learning Level 4, nursery equipment and more.’’
    Mrs Cornish has taught early childhood for 17 years and was excited to be starting a home-based network in Cromwell.
    ‘‘I hope to develop a small cluster where I will begin providing a playgroup so that they can establish relationships with each other and work as a network,’’ she said.
    An introductory evening was held for anyone interested on Tuesday night and Mrs Cornish expected to begin processing applications this week.