Are you sitting comfortably?
Because I would like to share with you the story of how We Are Fetching began, and why I decided to revolutionise the school run.
About two years ago there was a snow day at my son’s school, and a note went out instructing parents to collect their children by 12pm.
Anyone who has primary school age children probably has a class WhatsApp group. It is likely to be populated with tales of lost plimsolls and requests for this week’s spelling test words. However, on this day, it was filled with panic.
Many parents were stuck at work, those who could get away were hindered by snow-affected transport. What would happen if they were unable to make it to school by the requested time?
One by one, parents who lived or worked within walking distance of the school came forward offering to pick up a few extra children to ensure that all of them were collected.
It was wonderful. The sense of community and desire to help was clear. Why couldn’t we do this every day?
The obvious answer is that it does happen, but not everyone wants to commit to regularly collecting other people’s children. Also there are some people (not many), who take advantage of the goodwill of others. Then there is the faff of it, the profuse apologies, contacting the school, making arrangements to collect and yet more profuse apologies.
However, I was sure that with a bit of technology and some form of credits system, those who needed help could request it, and those who had capacity to take a few more children on their school run could help them out on an ad-hoc basis.
There didn't appear to be anything in the market, so I decided to create a platform myself.
Clearly it was not as simple as it sounds (and there is definitely another blog's worth of challenges and learnings that I can share), and let's not pretend I did this alone. There are developers, testers, investors, advisors, schools and many more besides but eventually the app was created.
This app allows parents to build a secure network of other parents that they know and trust. To give them the ability to help each other when they can, and to ask for help when they need it, with no parent having to undertake more than another.
By collecting another person's child as well as your own, you earn credits that you can use when you need your own child collecting. The school is in the loop as well, with their own secure website that gives them all of the information they need to facilitate the safe handover of children at the end of the day.
Our mission is to reduce the cost of childcare for primary school parents everywhere. It's a simple mission so it needs a simple tagline. We went for "childcare shared".