Acorn recognises that unforeseen circumstances can rapidly cause serious financial difficulties for families, and that the costs of childcare may contribute to these. We also understand the importance of continuity of care for young children, and wherever possible want to help families to be able to retain their child’s place at nursery during challenging periods for the family. We have always endeavoured to adapt our usual terms and conditions to assist families experiencing hardship, whilst recognising the need to safeguard the financial sustainability of each nursery and the wider organisation. 

Our hardship fund is intended to provide some financial reserves that can be used to pay some or all of a family’s childcare fees for a limited period of time. Circumstances that might lead to this need arising include:

  • Hospitalisation or serious illness of a parent/carer or child, leading to a loss of income
  • Sudden change in domestic circumstances, resulting in financial hardship
  • Loss or reduction of income due to unforeseen circumstances

Our hardship fund is administered by the team at our Central Support Office. In the first instance, referrals should be made by your nursery managers (or deputy in the manager’s absence) to either the Head of Early Years, Head of Finance or the CEO.  A discussion and verbal agreement about the level of support that can be offered will then take place between at least two of those individuals and the Head of Finance or a finance colleague will then record the details of the subsidy offered, including the time frame or review period.

Each case will be considered on its own merits and as quickly as possible. Factors that will influence the likelihood of financial support include the financial resilience of the nursery setting and wider organisation, the history of the family’s engagement with Acorn, and the manager’s assessment of the impact of the support.

Levels of support

The support offered may include either:

  • Additional free sessions to support with medical or other needs
  • A reduction or waiver of fees

If you would like to discuss our hardship fund or have any questions please feel free to call our Central Support Office on 01908 510309.