HIDDEN BUSINESSES – Behind the walls of some of our CHEQS residences, people are busy running small businesses.
This month we put the SPOTLIGHT ON…… Candy Cowan
Charles and I have lived in CHEQS for 5 years now, firstly in Hatherop and most recently in Quenington. We moved here just as we’d finished having all of our four children in quick succession – four in four years, with no twins!
On arriving here, we realised we had no childcare network to rely on, and finding a great babysitter or help for a school run when I needed to be in four places at once seemed much harder than it needed to be. So, we set up Kowalah – a mobile platform that connects busy parents with flexible childcare.
We now have hundreds of amazing Kowalahs (the ones who look after the little people!), all interviewed and reference checked – from Chipping Norton in the north, to Bristol and Bath in the south – and who support parents with anything from regular school runs or holiday help, to one off evenings out.
This year has been quite a year, as it has for most people. On 23rd March, business stopped overnight as no-one needed childcare – and the safety of our Kowalahs and families is paramount, so we stopped accepting any bookings. But since restrictions started easing in May, it has been wonderful to see the bookings flowing again – helping parents who are now working from home, and also providing valuable work to many of the Kowalahs who are now not attending university or have sadly lost other jobs because of COVID.
We invest a lot of time in the interviewing and referencing process for new Kowalahs, and our favourite messages from parents are when we hear how their children just adore the Kowalah who has picked them up from school that day and ask when can they come back. Most of our new families and Kowalahs come in through referrals which helps us to keep the quality of the service high for everyone.
We are always looking for new Kowalahs – they need to be over 18 with their own means of transport so if you have a son or daughter not heading to university this year then they can apply at https://www.kowalah.com/sitter-sign-up.
Margaret Stranks – Editor CHEQS Magazine