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Grandad's 80mile weekly trip for grandson's swimming lesson

Some Bucks children are among those being looked after by grandparents

Published by Scarlett Bawden-Gaul at 5:47am 18th February 2020. 3-minute read.

Grandad's 80mile weekly trip for grandson's swimming lesson

Childcare responsibilities are being taken on by over 5 million grandparents, including in Buckinghamshire.

Keith Baldwin is an example of grandparents taking on the role of childcare provider, as he drives an 80 mile round trip from South-West London to Buckinghamshire every Friday.

According to a recent YouGov poll, two-fifths (40%) of the nation's grandparents have provided regular childcare for their grandchildren.

With 89% of those providing it doing so once or more a week.

Setting off at 5.30 am every Friday Keith drives to his daughters house in Berkhamsted, drops one grandson to school and takes the other to his swimming lesson in Wendover. 

Although often described as childcare Keith says its more than that:

"It is if you like, but to me the really important thing is to feel the grandchildren are people I know really well and they know me. 

"Looking back I didn't really know my grandparents and it just seems such a shame to miss out on this opportunity.

"What I discovered is it's just such a great thing to get to know them, to be able to build a relationship with them, to see them grow and develop and to do a bit to help that to happen."

Keith and grandson

Keith attends his youngest grandson Henry's swimming lessons in Wendover:

"For me, the best thing about taking Henry swimming is that we get one-on-one time together, which is more than many grandparents have the opportunity to do.

"In fact, it was me who suggested taking Henry and, previously his big brother, Bertie, swimming in the first place - it's such an important skill, and something I was proud to support my daughter and son-in-law in teaching the boys."

Tamsin Brewis, owner of Water Babies Bucks and Beds, has seen an increase in grandparents booking weekly swimming lessons:

"Traditionally, it was more about a splash in the community pool on a Saturday morning but now, more grandparents than ever are realising that weekly lessons are a great way to spend some quality time with their grandchildren.

"As well as being beneficial for a child's development, it's also a great, low-intensity workout and a fun bonding exercise. I'd love to see more grandparents at our lessons and look forward to hearing from any budding swimmers - young or old!" 

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