LONDON, October 11th 2018: Last night saw press, bloggers, influencers, parents and businesses come together to mark the official launch of Cuckooz Nest, London’s first fully-flexible, pay-as-you-go, Ofsted-registered Nursery with adjacent workspace for parents and children under two. 

Co-founders of Cuckooz Nest, Charlie Rosier and Fabienne O’Neill, hosted an event to highlight the crucial issues surrounding childcare in the UK and the devastating impact the current offering is having on working families. The night included a panel discussion hosted by renowned journalist and broadcaster Harriet Minter. Harriet was joined by:

Alix Walker, Stylist’s Magazine Editor at Large

Matt Coyne, author of the Sunday Times’ Top Ten Bestseller, ‘Dummy’ and founder of popular blog Man vs. Baby. 

Clemmie Telford, Creative Director and founder of successful parent blog Mother of All Lists

Fabienne O’Neill, co-founder of Cuckooz Nest

Cuckooz Nest Launch Panel

Issues such as the lack of subsidised childcare up to three years old were central to the discussion along with the lack of information and education regarding Shared Parental Leave. Alix Walker, Editor at Large at Stylist Magazine said, “I use family. I ask for favours. I feel guilty asking for help in all the ways possible. My childcare costs are extortionate which is depressing and can make you feel like your work isn’t worth while,” while Clemmie Telford discussed Shared Parental Leave saying, “Shared parental leave is still not widely known about. The principle is good but it’s still a myth to some people. People don’t know how it works and some HR departments have never even heard of it!”

The high cost of childcare was discussed at length with Matt Coyne explaining that he had friends who had to remortgage their house to cover childcare costs. An audience member admitted to maxing out credit cards to cover childcare costs and planned to remortgage to repay these back once her children reached an age where they were eligible for subsidised childcare. 

Fabienne O’Neill explained that these issues were exactly why they’d launched Cuckooz Nest. “When we set up the business we knew that flexibility and cost were the main stumbling blocks for parents. We knew that some parents were being forced out of work because the maths didn’t add up when it came to paying for childcare and some were being forced out because the 9-5 day simply didn’t work when it came to raising a family. Because of this, we’ve created a fully flexible, affordable option, that allows parents to pay for childcare as and when they need it. There are a lot of parents working here that, without this option, simply wouldn’t be able to.”

Other issues such as the UK’s cultural approach to childcare versus that in countries such as Sweden was also thought to be having a negative effect on childcare offerings. Matt Coyne said, “It’s crazy but some men feel that taking Shared Parental Leave isn’t ‘manly’ which is ridiculous,” and Alix Walker supported this idea saying, “In Sweden, all I saw were dads looking after children and drinking coffee - the Latte Papas - they were having a great time and I thought, ‘Why isn’t this happening in the UK?”

Cuckooz Nest currently supports 70 working families at the current site and they hope to open another, larger site by Easter 2019. Charlie and Fabienne are also starting to work with large corporations to help them support their maternity returners and dads taking Shared Parental Leave by using Cuckooz Nest and its childcare options as a base.

The evening was a great success and celebrated this trailblazing business model. Hustle & Fox feel honoured to work with such visionary ladies.