IMPORTANT NOTICE

Corona Virus Updates

Daily Updates from Rascals relating to the on-going Corona Virus situation

IMPORTANT NOTICE - Corona Virus

Sat 21 Mar 2020

6pm Statement Saturday 21st March

We have spent the last few days attempting to keep the ship afloat.

Several factors, primarily our concern for the welfare for our staff, means we will close the doors of Rascals at normal closing time on Monday 23rd March. Our staff have battled on, however, unfortunately too many have personal circumstances and we feel we do not have safe numbers to continue. Some concerns regarding ongoing insurance cover has also been factored in.

I will put a further notice up here on early next week to explain how we will administer accounts issues and I would ask that you wait for this as our managers and staff will not be in receipt of any further details.

Lynne and I are so disappointed that it has come to this, but this decision has been largely taken out of our hands.

I would like to pay tribute to our wonderful staff and parents who have been so supportive during this very difficult time.

Thank you so much for your support so far and we look forward to seeing you back in better times.

Yours,

Roger & Lynne.

#comingbackstronger

IMPORTANT NOTICE - Corona Virus

Sat 21 Mar 2020

Statement Thur 26th March

Firstly, an apology, we did say we would put regular updates up and this is the first opportunity we have had to get you the latest news from Rascals. So here goes.

Key worker care:-

  • Unfortunately, we believe all our staff that are available have been paired off with Rascals parents for Home care, however, we do have a WhatsApp group for all staff and if you are a current Rascals parent, a key worker and cannot find childcare, please email roger@rascalsdaynurseries.com with your name, normal branch and room and a contact mobile number and we will pass this on. Childs age and the estimated days/hours required would also be helpful.
  • Rascals has no involvement, financial or otherwise with these arrangements other than to pass on details. We would, however, respectfully suggest that care can be offered for 1 child and possibly 1 sibling in their own home. For reasons of isolation, we would further suggest that looking after children from multiple households is not advised.]
  • Our local Trust Early Years teams hold a list of approved Homecare providers. Just search HSCT Early Years on Google for your area's trust offices.
  • Please ensure any childcare provider is appropriately vetted, qualified and insured.

Accounts:-

  • Unlike some other nurseries, we are not going to produce invoices for April. No DD's will be applied for or taken, so please, please do not cancel your DD mandate, they are a real pain to set up again. To be clear, there are no ongoing charges or retainer fees until we set a date to re-open.

Balances, deposits, childcare vouchers and TFC payments:-

  • Balances for unused days not taken, due to us closing before the end of the month, will be honoured when we return.
  • Deposits remain as before, if you intend to return then your deposit holds your place and will continue as normal.
  • Vouchers and TFC payments. You can continue to send in these payments and they will be credited against future childcare provided.
  • School collection fees paid in advance will be refunded at the end of the academic year as promised.

If you do not plan to return, or had already handed in notice:-

  • We will process all refunds due once we have a better idea of the funds required to pay the March and April payroll. Please understand that the government furlough 80% pay system only allows us to claim back these funds once we have paid them out. At this time, we have no idea when this will be.
  • However, in the event that you are in financial difficulties, please email finance@rascalsdaynurseries.com with your branch, name and the amount you feel you are due and we will endeavour to assist as best we can. Rascals parents who are having to pay for alternative childcare and are key workers will be prioritised. As we have limited funds, we would please ask that you do this only if really need to.

New customers and those who have deposits with us:-

  • We are so looking forward to seeing everyone back when normality returns. If you have booked with us, paid a deposit and planned to start during our period of closure, be assured, your place is secure. We will be in contact with you to arrange your full registration process and settle in days.
  • If you wish to secure a future place in any of our nurseries, we sadly can't show you our wonderful facilities for now. However, if you want to secure a place, we can confirm availability, take a deposit and arrange a viewing once we get back.

Contact:-

  • Susan in our accounts department is working hard to keep on top of things, she can be contacted at finance@rascalsdaynurseries.com, but please give us time to work through your queries.
  • All Rascals landlines are now diverted to Roger's mobile, so if you have any specific queries not answered here or via Susan's email, please call me between 9-5 Monday to Friday.
  • All our nurseries have internal security systems. However, it would be so helpful if, on your one walk a day, and you live locally a quick glance round the property for any sign of damage or vandalism would be really appreciated. If you need to get in contact with me, simply phone the number on our sign and this will come directly to me.
  • These updates will now move to weekly on Friday's from now on.

We would like to thank all the parents who have phoned us over the last few days. The messages of support have been so wonderful and in turn, we wish you all good health and a safe passage through this awful time.

Roger & Lynne

#comingbackstronger

IMPORTANT NOTICE - Corona Virus

Fri 20 Mar 2020

Friday - where are we?

As I am sure you appreciate it has been a crazy week and I am doing my best to keep all parents and staff up to date. I can only imagine the rollercoaster you and your families are also dealing with.

Today's (Friday) 5pm chancellors statement will have huge implications and I need to consult with industry colleagues on the best way forward.
Therefore this bulletin is just to tell you that we need time to digest the latest twist in this situation. I may also pause for a glass of wine!

The next update will be posted for approximately 6pm tomorrow (Saturday) where I hope to have facts and a plan of attack for the near future.

Please be assured that there is a massive amount of work going on in the background, not only by Lynne and myself, but NIDCO, our industry representative body, Early Years and others. A big shout out to our many friends in the childminding world who are also caught up in this mess.

If you are trying to call our managers for general information, please note they know no more that I put up here. If you have a query relating to your child's ongoing care, please call, but otherwise, please wait for updates bulletins on Facebook and our web page and check previous archived bulletins.

Thanks for all the fantastic comments to the previous posts. Everyone really appreciates your words of encouragement.

More tomorrow.

Many thanks.

Lynne and Roger.

#comingbackstronger

IMPORTANT NOTICE - Corona Virus

Thu 19 Mar 2020

HEADLINE NEWS... WE ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS AS USUAL

Rascals is focussed on providing the highest quality childcare in a safe environment. However, we must now also consider the need for us to continue to provide our services so parents in essential roles can continue the fight against Coronavirus.

We received news at 6:10pm this evening that the Dept. of Health is not intending to issue a closure notice on private nurseries. A little more clarity, but not as much information as we really needed. I am sure there is more to come.

We have to assume then that it's business as usual until we hear otherwise or our staff numbers drop to unsustainable numbers. As we have 7 nurseries in NI and a marvellous team of over 230 it is hoped that we can keep our services open throughout this crisis.

So please spread the news that we can, and will, provide our outstanding service to everyone, but especially anyone working in hospitals, other emergency services and anyone continuing to provide essential services to our ailing communities. Obviously, we also need our existing parents to support us at this time if you are inclined and financially able to do so.

In fact, a general shout out to everyone to support your local nursery, as we need our sector to remain as strong as possible so we can return stronger post COVID-19.

We are very aware that the nurseries are still susceptible to this virus and we will be operating outside of advice given by PHA, i.e. social distancing. Parents need to take a personal decision as to these risks and act accordingly. If we do have a proven case, we will close individual nurseries while a deep clean is undertaken for a minimum of 2 days. We do have the option to offer services in another branch.

We have increased our cleaning schedules and ask that only 1 person drops or collects a child from nursery and that the child is left at the room door.

You must not send your child to nursery if you have an actual or suspected case in your household. Please do not send anyone from a vulnerable group to drop off or collect children, e.g. older grandparents, people with underlying health problems, etc. This is for everyone’s safety and peace of mind.

Staff
We will not force anyone to work. Our staffs’ health is of paramount importance to us. However, it is important that any of our staff that attend work do so on the understanding that they may be putting themselves in increased danger of catching the virus. All staff attending work must seriously consider their personal and their family's health before coming to work. Please put your health before money worries.

Regarding pay, we will be paying everyone for hours worked and any statutory payments due as normal at the end of the month. We are awaiting information from HMRC about how we handle various scenarios and would ask for your patience at this time. Please be assured we are doing everything in our power to do the legal and morally right thing at the moment, but I am sure you appreciate it is very difficult to predict what government help the sector is going to get.

We are assured that a major announcement about employee support is going to be made tomorrow by the chancellor and we will report more on that once we have the facts.

Regulations and Standards
Our understanding is that the Minimum Standards remain in force and we will undertake to keep to ratios, space standards etc. We may however, and with a current consultation in mind, mix some age groups to ensure we have the correct staff to child ratios. This will be done only after a nursery manager has made a professional judgment and a risk assessment has been undertaken.

If staff have to go off work ,due to confirmed or suspected illness, we are considering offering temporary contracts to local vetted classroom assistants, primary and Pre-school teachers. It is our intention that they will get a basic induction and will be constantly paired off with a member of our staff. Anyone interested in applying should send a CV to reception@rascalsdaynurseries.com - ONLY VETTED EXPERIENCED STAFF WILL BE CONSIDERED. If you are considering applying, please make your own enquiries regarding any other payments you may be receiving and tax implications

Childcare Fees
We have no announcements regarding government help with costs other than rates relief which accounts for less than 2% of our normal fees. In the event that we find ourselves with excess funds, we will firstly ensure our staff are taken care of and then possibly offer free care to loyal parents in lieu of perceived overpayments.

Fees as published are payable as normal. Our normal DD system is suspended and we are working on a replacement, but to give you advance notice, we may go old school and look at a method of weekly payment.

All parents' accounts are currently frozen. We have decided to suspend our notice period policy, so anyone who needs to go, can, but we are assuming it’s just a temporary situation. All deposits are retained for your eventual return. All advance TFC and CCV payments are safe and will be deducted from your next invoice, be that in a week or 6 months.

Please be assured that every financial decision is designed to ensure we can take care of our staff and to ensure we can come back strong to serve our communities.

Flexicare service
Any parent that is currently booked in for standard days will be billed as normal for those days and your place is secure. We also offer a FlexiCare service which was, until today, priced at a premium for Ad Hoc childcare. From Monday 23rd, all half day and full day rates are cut to the same rate as published in our Fees lists. The hourly rate remains. This will allow access to parents who need occasional or emergency childcare. Call your chosen branch for details and availability.

Finally, we want to send our support and best wishes to all our colleagues in the sector. It’s a pretty awful time but we will come back stronger and wiser.

To our fantastic parents, either with us, or temporarily not attending, thank you so much for all the lovely messages received and we look forward to seeing you all very soon.

Lynne & Roger

IMPORTANT NOTICE - Corona Virus

Thu 19 Mar 2020

TO ALL PARENTS AND STAFF

Updated 12:00 Thur 19th
I told you I would only put up FACTS and not conjecture. As of now I know no more than you regarding continuation or closures. I am working on protocols if we are asked to remain open and I know officials in the Dept of Health are meeting now to give us guidance. As soon as I know any more I will publish it on our website and Facebook with a further update, probably around 9pm tonight as, helpfully all the big announcements come around 5pm and it will take us some time to digest.

The one statement we want to make is that all staff must put their personal and families health before money worries. We will assume if you are in work, that you are aware of the risks and take all actions to protect yourself. We greatly appreciate your loyalty and focus at this very difficult time .

Lynne & Roger

IMPORTANT NOTICE - Corona Virus

Wed 18 Mar 2020

TO ALL PARENTS AND STAFF

Updated 18:30 Wed 19th
"We are absorbing the recent news and lack of direction from government on our status. We will update this page when we know facts around our continued services no later than 12 noon tomorrow (Thurs 19th). Thank you for your continued patience."


We are currently working through our emergency planning procedures and would ask for your understanding and patience in these very uncertain times

We will post an update on this page daily at approx. 6pm to make sure you are in full receipt of all facts at that time.

Please rest assured that everything we do is for the general and financial wellbeing of our customers, staff and wider community.

Please be patient and keep checking here and our Facebook page for updates.

As of now, 2pm on Wednesday 18th, we have not received instructions to close and it is service as normal for now.

We can categorically confirm that all staff wages are guaranteed up to and including the end of the month as normal.

Parents with account queries, please note that your query is echoed by a large number of our customers and our daily update will answer most of your queries. We will prepare a comprehensive statement for release by tomorrow (Thursday 19th) and would ask that you wait for that.

We are working closely with local and national government on a possible package that may see some nurseries being able to remain open for front line essential workers, but cannot release any further information at this time.
Please be patient, we are putting measures in place to meet all our needs plus an action plan to ensure the continuation of our services once we return to normal.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our wonderful staff who are working under personal and professional strain and assure everyone that we will get through this and return stronger than ever.

Lynne & Roger

Wed 18 Mar 2020

TO ALL PARENTS AND STAFF

We are currently working through our emergency planning procedures and would ask for your understanding and patience in these very uncertain times

We will post an update on this page daily at approx. 6pm to make sure you are in full receipt of all facts at that time.

Please rest assured that everything we do is for the general and financial wellbeing of our customers, staff and wider community.

Please be patient and keep checking here and our Facebook page for updates.

As of now, 2pm on Wednesday 18th, we have not received instructions to close and it is service as normal for now.

We can categorically confirm that all staff wages are guaranteed up to and including the end of the month as normal.

Parents with account queries, please note that your query is echoed by a large number of our customers and our daily update will answer most of your queries. We will prepare a comprehensive statement for release by tomorrow (Thursday 19th) and would ask that you wait for that.

We are working closely with local and national government on a possible package that may see some nurseries being able to remain open for front line essential workers, but cannot release any further information at this time.
Please be patient, we are putting measures in place to meet all our needs plus an action plan to ensure the continuation of our services once we return to normal.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our wonderful staff who are working under personal and professional strain and assure everyone that we will get through this and return stronger than ever.

Lynne & Roger