Not-for-profit childcare

 

A chara, – Gavin Harte (Letters, July 26th) rightly points to the need for community-owned not-for-profit childcare provision, where parents can work together. This would be a sane, humane and affordable option for parents who want to avoid the isolation of looking after children full-time in the home, and equally want to avoid commercial childcare.

There is a pressing need in society for all kinds of community-owned and co-operatively managed not-for-profit enterprises. Community-supported farms, cafés and food-preparation enterprises; housing co-operatives; energy co-operatives; ecological building services; repair services; tool libraries, and community arts groups are just some of the pioneering projects up and running.

But our economy as it is currently organised does not support them and those involved struggle to make a living; much of the work is done by volunteers.

Such enterprises will be central to any future convivial and sustainable society, and we need our Government to support them with grants, subsidies and appropriate legislation. It should also provide personal financial support to the people involved (and to all legal residents) in the form of a universal basic income.

It is notable how many people on pensions – a form of basic income – are active in pioneering enterprises; but the opportunity to engage in such work without financial worry should not be confined to pensioners.

Basic income is not intended to be pay for pioneering work; but it would support social innovation and offer meaningful choices about what kinds of work to do, both paid and unpaid. – Is mise,

ANNE B RYAN,

(Joint co-ordinator,

Basic Income Ireland.

Member,

Feasta,

The Foundation

for the Economics

of Sustainability),

Celbridge,

Co Kildare.