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Sealing deals and changing nappies at Farringdon office block designed to ease childcare burden

PUBLISHED: 19:05 01 November 2017

Cuckooz Nest co-founders Charlie Rosier and Fabienne O'Neill. Photo by Billy Bolton

Cuckooz Nest co-founders Charlie Rosier and Fabienne O'Neill. Photo by Billy Bolton

Billy Bolton

A proposal for a Farringdon office block containing on-site nappy changing and a dressing-up area for little ones is being touted as a solution for working parents struggling to cover childcare costs.

The planning application for an office space for working parents iincludes on-site spaces for childcare. The planning application for an office space for working parents iincludes on-site spaces for childcare.

Islington entrepreneur Charlie Rosier and best friend Fabienne O’Neill have submitted an application for a Ray Street co-working office space with childcare facilities for kids up to the age of two.

According to research released by the Trades Union Congress in October, the cost of childcare in the capital for children under two has risen more than seven times faster than wages since 2008, with many parents struggling to keep pace.

Flexibility appears to be the key for the “Cuckooz Nest” proposal, with mums and dads booking the office space by the hour while their children are cared for by Ofsted-registered nannies in the next room.

Charlie also owns Cuckooz – a company that designs flats in London for the “Airbnb generation” – with Fabienne, and knows first-hand the challenges of seeking affordable childcare options while balancing a desire to get back to work.

“Childcare in London is some of the most expensive in the world, equating to approximately a third of the average household income,” Charlie said.

“We want to change this not only by providing an affordable alternative, but also so new parents don’t feel that they have to put their careers on hold or feel the guilt associated with going back to work.”

Parents with children aged three and four get 15 hours’ free childcare a week automatically, with those who are in work getting double that.

Charlie and Fabienne – who hope to have the business open early next year subject to planning permission from Islington Council – want to offer the service for £10 per hour between 8am and 6pm from Monday to Friday, with those living in Islington given a 10 per cent discount.

Fabienne, who lives in Hackney, added: “An emerging trend of self-employed workers and entrepreneurs has translated into a worldwide explosion of co-working space, but one untapped area is working parents, particularly female entrepreneurs. We believe we have the answer.”

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