Grandparents playing key childcare role

GRANDPARENTS are playing a vital role in helping parents to return to work by providing free childcare.

A survey of 2,000 working parents, showed that almost half depended on their own parents to help out, with two out of five relying on childminders, friends or other family members.

Just 4 per cent of those surveyed by employed a nanny or au pair, with almost half of grandparents looking after children for free. Website founder Gillian Nissim said: "Without their help, it would be impossible for many mums to go back to work - grandparents not only help with the childcare, but also keep childcare costs to a minimum."

Sam Smethers, chief executive of the charity Grandparents Plus, said: "Families are under increasing financial pressure and grandparents are helping to bridge the childcare gap."