A DAWLISH grandmother is urging parents and carers to respond to a county-wide survey on childcare in a bid to address the current ‘crisis’ in provision.

Lynne Nicholls, an ardent campaigner for better support for parents and improvements in childcare, wants more people to know about a survey being carried out across Devon.

She believes the Devon County Council survey should be answered by as many people as possible to give a complete picture of how much childcare is needed.

Dawlish has already been identified as being a ‘hotspot area’ where more provision is needed, especially for children aged from birth to two years.

Dawlish town councillors have already backed an appeal to improve provision by encouraging an increase in childcare providers.

A motion proposed by mayor Rosie Dawson was passed saying unless action is taken to address this shortfall, matters may get worse as the population increases and ‘funded’ hours increase in 2024 which could lead to less overall spaces being available.

On the back of the call by the town council to address the issue, Mrs Nicholls believes it is vital more parents and carers respond to the survey.

Devon County Council’s latest Parents Childcare Survey was launched in July and parents have until September 20 to complete it.

The survey is sent out at least once a year to parents living in Devon.

The authority’s Early Years and Childcare service is appealing for parents to take part and wants to achieve a good representative response.

A spokesman said: ‘It’s important as the answers help to ensure that there is enough childcare in Devon.

‘The more replies we receive the clearer we can be about what childcare is needed, at what times, in which places and for specific ages of children.’

Once analysed, the responses can inform the business plans of anyone wanting to expand existing provision or set up new services.

But Mrs Nicholls says anyone who needs to access childcare must respond to the survey.

She said: ‘If other grandparents read this article who have grandchildren living throughout Devon please can you bring the attention of this survey to their parents, carers and encourage them to complete it.

‘Not all parents and carers will have received an email or text from Devon County Council telling them about it.

‘The survey doesn’t take long to complete and the very last question asks if you have anything further to say about childcare in Devon.

‘I know that my daughter used that opportunity to express her dissatisfaction with the amount of under aged five childcare provision in Dawlish, especially year round provision.  

‘She also pointed out that if, as planned, the government is going to increase the amount of funding for child care and by doing so increase the number of ‘free’ places then it needs to make sure that there are enough child care places to meet the increase in demand.  

‘If anyone feels the same way about childcare both in Dawlish and elsewhere in Devon this survey is an opportunity to express your opinions.’

Devon County Council says its service matches the supply and demand to establish where there are insufficient places.

The closing date for the survey is September 10.