Our response to your feedback A.K.A Frequently Asked Questions!
Every year we ask for suggestions of things we could try or do differently to make CHIPS the best it can be. We use these ideas to plan delivery but unfortunately there are some things we can’t do that come up every year and we thought you might like to know why we don’t do them!
Is it possible to have an online booking system please? We totally understand that an online booking system with instant notification of whether you have the dates you want for your child/ren would be great! Unfortunately our scheme is not set-up like that. As part of our charitable objectives (we are after all a charity!) children coming to CHIPS referred to us from family support services are given priority for places. We need to make sure these children have a place before other places are allocated. We also have a high number of children coming to CHIPS with additional support needs. We need to ensure that their attendance is spread across our provision to get a good balance in participation and that we have the right staff to support them on the right days so that everyone has a fabulous experience.
Maybe offer some off-site activities? Unlike school we have not had the opportunity to develop our relationship with your children over a period of time before an off-site activity. Indeed some children only come to CHIPS for a couple of days. This means we cannot fully risk assess outside activities based on the needs of the children whom will be attending and we do not have the chance to work with children whom may have additional needs to prepare them for a trip. It would also likely increase the costs we would need to pass onto you to cover transport, admission etc. These factors mean that some children would not be able to come. We instead offer a huge range of fantastic activities at our CHIPS site that everyone can take part in!
Please can you run for the whole summer as it’s a big help to working families? Can you open in holidays throughout the year e.g. Christmas and even mid-term? No, sorry. The actual cost of an individual place at CHIPS is £33.50 per day – we only charge £10. As a charity we raise the remaining cost ourselves through grant applications, fundraising activities etc every year. We work very hard to ensure that we have enough money to run for 4 weeks during the summer and 1 week at Easter (around £46,000 in total!) but sometimes even this isn’t possible. We therefore cannot commit to running at any other time and we do not want to raise fees as this would mean that children most in need of CHIPS may not be able to come. There are other childcare providers in the area whom may be able to offer provision during these other times.
Also, as some of you may know, many of our playworkers (the REDs) work at local schools joining us during their holidays. This means we have a very qualified workforce to support all of the children’s needs. They do need time-off though and if we opened every time the schools closed they wouldn’t be able to have any!
I know it is a long day, but opening at 8.30am would be a great help to get to work in time. We’ve also been asked to finish beyond our usual 4.30pm pick-up time. This is something that is discussed every year by our committee. At present we do not have sufficient demand for extended opening hours to justify the additional costs that this would bring. We would also need to consider if these additional costs could be passed onto those using the extended provision as currently we would not expect the majority of the children to arrive or stay beyond our core hours.
It would be great to be told what activities they’ve (the children) done each day to be able to encourage them to talk about their day. At the point of booking we provide a timetable of our planned activities. However, we love the idea of sharing more about what the children have been up to with us so that they can share it with you! From Summer 2019 we will be doing more around this with an activities list in reception at the beginning and end of the day, a scrolling photo log on display for that day and hopefully lots more!
Please can you remove the need to complete the long paperwork forms especially if you’ve attended CHIPS before?Contact details and the needs of your child may change and we need to ensure that we have up-to-date information. We also do not expect anyone to remember what they wrote a year ago to be able to confirm if this is still accurate! In line with data protection old registration forms are also destroyed. Sorry, we know no-one likes filling in forms again (or even the first time) but if there is an issue with completing them please do remember that we are here to help.
Can you please advise parents of places/dates that we’ve secured sooner? We are working on this. One option is to open booking earlier in the year and close it earlier too – but we are worried that this may not fit with how people plan their summer. Your views are very welcome.
Do you limit the amount of time they can play on computer games or screen time? Yes. We offer a huge range of exciting activities at any one time and the children are encouraged (and supported where necessary) to try them all or at least a variety! We do move children on from the computers if we think they have been there too long and as we do not have many our sharing policy means that no one has very long anyway.
Do you offer a concessionary rate? All children attending CHIPS pay a concessionary rate. The true cost of our provision is around £33.50 per day (we offer a lot of exciting activities, a free two-course cooked meal, only employ trained playworkers and can provide 1:1 support if necessary!) Our voluntary management committee have, however, set our fee at £10.00 per day to ensure that we are affordable to our community.
Questions we would like to be asked!
Can I volunteer at CHIPS? Absolutely! Please visit our webpage https://chipsholidayplay.co.uk/volunteer/ for more info!
Can I donate to CHIPS? Oh wow, yes please! We are obviously very keen on financial donations (!) as they pay for staff, rent and activities but we also need things like fresh fruit to give the children every day, new toys and play equipment as chosen by the children and CHIPS team to replace worn out resources and new items to support the theme of summer delivery (e.g. we would quite like new magnifying glasses for our ‘Go Wild’ bug hunts in 2019!) We appreciate whatever you can give because as a charity we don’t receive any form of regular funding and have to raise every penny ourselves! A donation of £2.50 would pay for a two-course nutritious cooked meal for one child. Around £8.50 would cover the costs of a playworker for one hour to provide additional support to help all children to participate in activities. £275 covers all our art and craft activities for 2 weeks. £1,500 pays for two weeks rental of one of our summer sites. We could go on! Please consider supporting us if you can – we have a ‘donate now’ button on our website, you can choose us as your charity as part of the new Guildford Community Lottery (https://www.guildfordlottery.org/), your employer may match-fund or offer volunteering schemes etc etc!
Can I run fundraising activities for CHIPS at work or in the community or offer match funding from my employer? Thank you, yes please! Please contact us to have a chat about how we can best work together in this. We are very happy to visit you at work or at a group to talk to you and your colleagues/friends about what we do and the outcomes we achieve every year.
Any further questions please ask!