Help let childminded children visit my allotment plot for a wonderful learning opportunity

Help let childminded children visit my allotment plot for a wonderful learning opportunity

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Hannah Lovelock started this petition to Parishioners of Stoke Poges

My family and I took on an allotment plot last year and it saved our sanity during lockdown. Being able to walk/cycle down to our plot each day with our 4 children (3-14 years) and spend hours, which felt like minutes, tending to our 75 varieties of fruit, veg and flowers (as we were new to gardening, we thought we'd give everything a go!). The squeals of excitement when we saw new shoots, not believing our eyes that things were actually growing, and we made that happen was just the best. All four of our children now have a love for growing and a healthy understanding of where food comes from (not supermarkets as my 3-year-old first thought) and are keen to grow their own. My now 15-year-old has her own raised bed that she already has plans for this year! My now 14-year-old chose to take food and nutrition as one of her GCSE subjects as a direct result of growing, harvesting and cooking foods from our allotment, and Nora (3) and Nieve (10) use the allotment for a constant picnic, every minute we would find them eating whatever they could get thier hands on from raspberries, tomatoes, peas, beans, herbs and soooo many more, knowing exactly when they were ripe and ready to eat. Overall, a hugely beneficial experience for us all and memories we will never forget! (Pictures are of my daughter cycling home with the radishes she grew by herself, her pumpkin she also grew from seed and our allotment).

I am an Ofsted registered childminder working in Early Years and care for three 0–4-year-olds every day and would love to let them visit our allotment for an hour a week so they can also benefit from this wonderful learning opportunity. However, because I get paid to care for the children some of my local councillors (Stoke Poges Parish Council) deem this 'business use' and unfortunately voted against allowing childminded children on my allotment plot at their Recreation and Environment Meeting last week (2 councillors voted for, 4 voted against and 2 abstained).


I think they have misinterpreted the term 'Business Use'; as the children would only visit for a very short time. Though childminding is a business, it is recognised it is unique and run from a domestic premise- ‘their home is still classed as a domestic property, with no subject to business rates or a host of other regulations affecting businesses’ (Nursery world Aug 2018). Other Parish Councils do not see this as business use and have openly welcomed all children, but every Parish Council can take their own interpretation of this rule.  A fellow childminder has now taken herself off the waiting list for an allotment. There wouldn't be any additional costs to the council as I am trained in safeguarding and have full public liability insurance. Not only are they not allowing childminded children but in January this year they changed our tenancy agreement to state that only 'your' children are welcome, excluding our extended family members!


It seems crazy that in a world that is promoting food to fork initiatives, encouraging schools to have their own plots at allotments (teachers are also paid during this time) and with child obesity at its highest that such a wonderful opportunity for children can be voted against. Ofsted are heavily promoting ‘Cultural Capital’ which is giving children opportunities they wouldn’t usually have available to them and this is the ideal opportunity to do this. 

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!