After-school clubs offer children the chance to widen their horizons: An essential source of advice for anyone starting a club is the Scottish Out of School Care Network.
Information officer Shirley Norrie says: "We're the national organisation for Scotland and we supply information to anyone wanting to set up an out of school care group. We provide details of local networks which are a good source of contacts and can tell you how to set up a club, the sources of funding - which can vary tremendously from area to area - and the names of people in the local enterprise companies or the council who can advise on applications, registration, grants and so on."
Networks of out of school clubs exist throughout the country. Hyndland, for example, is served by the Glasgow network SASCA (formerly the Strathclyde After School Care Association, tel: 0141 333 1434), which produces an excellent information pack on setting up and running out of school care groups, with sections on policies and good practice, dealing with children, premises, staffing, finance, legal responsibilities and business structure.
Hyndland manager Fiona Ansdell explains: "A group of parents got together and approached me because I was a childminder; the school was supportive which isn't always the case. We got a start-up grant through SASCA to buy equipment and Glasgow city council paid our wages for the first nine months. After that we had to become self-funding. We charge pound;11 for a full day, pound;4.70 for after-school which is 3-5.45pm, and pound;1.50 for the breakfast club, which is 8-9am, with lower rates for people on benefit.
"During term-time we have an average of 70 children a day, with 30-40 during the holidays. We try to take the kids out on visits, but you save money when you don't - it's a ratio of one adult to eight children normally, but if you go on a trip there must be one adult to four kids.
"We still apply for any money that's available. We got a grant from Europe through SASCA when we expanded and we had a little lottery money last year. But at the moment fees and a bit of fund-raising cover our costs. Every Christmas we have a big raffle for a hamper, which usually raises about pound;1,000, and we also hold jumble sales. You can get grants to start up and to improve, but not usually to keep ticking over. They'll give you money to help make you wonderful, but you have to keep being wonderful on your own."
Scottish Out of School Care Network, Floor 9, Fleming House, 134 Renfrew Street, Glasgow G3 6ST. Tel: 0141 331 1301, fax: 0141 332 1206 Making a start