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This report examines the support grandparents who provide childcare to their grandchildren receive, and how grandparents feel about providing it.

This report, produced by the ILC-UK and Ageas UK examines the support grandparents who provide childcare to their grandchildren receive, and how grandparents feel about providing it.

The report explores the contribution of grandparents in the UK using new survey data and analysis to investigate the financial, care giving and recreational support they offer. We provide fresh insights into how grandparents are coping with their ever expanding role which makes them one of the most important elements of a child’s life and development and a real support to parents.

The report finds that:

  • 9 million grandparents make up the UK’s Grandparent Army, with a 2.7 million core at its heart
  • Grandparents spend an average of over 8 hours a week looking after their grandchildren. This time commitment rises to over 11 hours each week for the ‘nanny heartland’ – those core grandparents who are relied upon week in, week out
  • Two-thirds (68%) of grandparents offer financial contributions to their grandchildren’s upbringing, across payments towards clothes, toys and hobbies, leisure activities and pocket money
  • One quarter (23%) even pay for babysitting, so that parents, and perhaps grandparents themselves, can take a well-earned rest.

The report also makes recommendations for Government, employers and education providers to ensure that the 'Grandparent Army' receives sufficient support to allow it to continue to provide such vital support.

Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre - UK said:

“It is clear grandparents have become one of the biggest sources of childcare after parents themselves, allowing more parents to work and thereby reducing the costs of childcare. Nevertheless, how we support and reward this growing unpaid army and how we reconcile an increasing need to work longer for the over 50s, 60s and 70s and shape and expand family friendly policies for all, remains subject to debate.”

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