PARENTS struggling to get childcare outside normal working hours in York could soon be given a helping hand by City of York Council.

A series of measures to provide more information about the care available for children whose parents need to go to work or undergo training in the evening has been backed by the economic and city development overview and scrutiny committee.

A report to councillors said the topic had been examined at the request of Coun Helen Douglas who felt there was a lack of childcare available after 6pm, which impacted on working women.

She said the problem had been exacerbated by recent changes to tax credits, which reduced the amount that could be used to pay for care.

Steps unanimously backed by the committee include:

• A new page to be created on the YorOK website, providing parents with advice on finding informal childcare/babysitters

• The Family Information Service Manager to audit childcare providers to gather more detailed information on their out-of-hours availability

• The service to promote and market information out of hours care on its website and through press releases and leaflets.

Councillors also agreed the Family Information Service Manager should organise another event for York employers about being “family friendly”.

Coun Anna Semlyen, who chaired the committee, said it was also planned to advertise for people willing to provide out-of-hours care to get in touch.

She said the proposals would now go to the council’s cabinet.

“I am proud of this piece of research on how the council can help increase the wealth of York families,” said Coun Semlyen, herself a mother who works evenings as a yoga teacher. “Access to childcare at the right time makes a huge difference.”

She said that as well as parents needing to go to work or training in the evening, it was also important for the evening economy for them to be able to access the city’s lively cultural life.

It was increasingly difficult nowadays for many parents to do so, because many did not have grandparents or other relatives living nearby who could help out.