New scheme to support carers

Equity and Spotlight have announced their support of PIPA Flexible Family Care, a pilot scheme launching in January 2019.

PIPA (Parents in Performing Arts) have partnered with My Family Care, to offer a resolution for parents and carers in the performing arts who require flexible family support, due to the unpredictable nature of their careers. My Family Care delivers family-friendly solutions and a wide range of resources for those with caring needs.

PIPA Flexible Family Care will allow Equity and Spotlight members to access a range of services, help and support. This includes elements such as Emergency Childcare, School Holiday Cover, or Backup Adult and Eldercare.

Paul Fleming, Equity’s theatre organiser, said: “This is a pilot scheme that the union is pleased to support, but we hope the long term solution is for employers to invest in caring solutions for entertainment workers. This pilot year is a chance for us to see whether the proposal works for members, and, if it does, to campaign for employers to bear the cost in years to come.”

Kelly Burke, chair of Equity’s women’s committee, described access to “flexible, reliable childcare” as “essential if women are to have equal access to work, and continuity and longevity in their careers”.

“If we wish to see a vibrant and diverse workforce, then it is the industry’s duty to address this lack of crucial support. Access to care has the ability to be career-changing for workers of all ages and genders,” she added.

As a pilot scheme, Equity, Spotlight and PIPA will initially be offering 500 user registrations to PIPA Flexible Family Care, on a first come, first served basis.

Cassie Raine, Co-founder of PIPA, said, “This is a practical way of supporting the performing arts workforce. Widely used by corporate employers, this innovative partnership is a way of making a range of flexible child and elder care accessible to an industry with unpredictable working patterns, last minute engagements and late hours. There are no sign up fees or ongoing commitment for individuals and the care is available UK-wide.”

Equity members who would like to register their interest should contact PIPA directly on