About PACE

PACE (Providing Access to Childcare and Employment) started in 2017.

The project was jointly funded by European and Council funding. The European funding has ended but the work of PACE is being continued by Brighton & Hove City Council.

PACE exists to help parents with young children get into work, training and volunteering, whilst making sure that their childcare needs are met.

Keyworkers from Children’s Centres and the Family Information Service support parents every step of the way to help them achieve their goals.


What PACE offers to parents

PACE can offer:

  • a keyworker providing ongoing support, who is empathetic, non-judgemental and builds trust
  • regular meetings to create a PDP (Personal Development Plan) with clear goals
  • opportunities to meet other parents - when restrictions allow
  • a voluntary programme where parents progress at a pace that suits them and their family
  • help to find childcare, including occasional childcare for training and one-off appointments
  • support with finances, benefits and childcare funding
  • a flexible training programme that aims to boost confidence, build skills and access qualifications
  • help to find support for the whole family

How many parents took up the support since 2017

Type of support Number of parents
Help with finding childcare and funding 117
Employability training 97
CV writing & interview skills 87
Confidence building training 85
Volunteering 61
In work benefits calculations 57
Interview preparation 22

What parents said about PACE

From day one my keyworker has been 100% committed to my evolving journey on PACE. She has guided me in directions I would never have thought possible. It’s with great thanks to her that I am about to start a job that is far beyond just a job to me. She helped me in all situations good or bad.

My key worker is very welcoming, approachable and compassionate, she understands my position as a single parent and the limitations this puts on my opportunities for work etc. I don’t feel at all pressured to start work before I’m ready.

I could not wait to tell my PACE keyworker that I had found a job. She supported me to get a bus pass for work, along with changing my benefits when I started working. PACE helped fund my first month’s childcare costs, and then apply for the 30 hours childcare funding when my child was 3. I am now so much better off financially and love my job. I feel like a different person and so glad I didn’t give up.

My PACE Keyworker put me in touch with the Family Information Service (FIS) who suggested that a childminder might be more flexible. I hadn’t even thought about childminders, but I went to visit one and they had really good facilities and could cover the hours I needed. It meant my daughter could still go to her nursery and the childminder could cover the extra hours. FIS also helped me with applying for 30 hours free childcare and tax credits.

PACE helped me swap sessions at the nursery to cover training and to get extra hours when I started work. They also managed to get me a free bus pass to cover my first month’s travel to work.



How PACE helps parents get into work

  1. Attend settings that parents visit regularly to promote their service.
  2. Keyworkers meet parents in a place they feel comfortable.
  3. Childcare should underpin everything you do when working with parents.
  4. Provide specialist support to help parents with childcare choices.
  5. Ask parents to think about childcare that suits their long term needs and offers occasional and flexible sessions.
  6. Have a clear format for appointments to measure progress.
  7. Offer group training in soft skills and employability skills to prepare parents for work.
  8. Have a funded crèche that runs alongside training sessions for parents.
  9. Give parents bus tickets if they are travelling to training or appointments.
  10. Complete financial calculations with parents to show how much better off they are in work.
  11. Build a network to refer parents to that can provide support with barriers.
  12. Give parents the chance to meet other parents in the same situation.
  13. Life will sometimes get in the way and parents may need to take a break from finding work, let them know this is ok.
  14. Encourage parents to volunteer to build their experience and confidence.
  15. Support parents to think about childcare availability alongside the jobs they are applying for.
  16. Arrange a ‘preparing for work’ appointment including who to contact once they are offered work.
  17. Parents often feel overwhelmed when they are offered work, so support them to make phone calls and attend appointments to prepare for the transition.
  18. Help parents apply for in-work funding for travel, work clothing, childcare costs and deposits. Make sure parents are prepared for the financial change.
  19. Celebrate with a parent when they start work and still be there to support them.

PACE by numbers

Number of parents Acheivement 
145 Parents have attended PDP’s with their PACE Keyworker to discuss their goals
121 Parents have had advice on childcare options and funding, including occasional additional sessions for training and appointments
161 Parents have signed up to the project
59 Parents have started paid employment that is sustainable for their family circumstances
97 Parents have attended employability training
85 Have attended confidence building training
43 PACE training courses were delivered, all of which offered a free on site crèche
61 Parents have started volunteering to build confidence and skills
52 Parents have had a benefits calculation looking at their financial position if they entered paid work - all were better off
20 Parents went onto further study


About PACE parents

28% of parents identified as BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic), this compares to Brighton & Hove’s BAME population of 11% - 2011 census.

30% of parents identified as having a disability, this compares to 18% of the local population in the 2011 census.

10% of parents are carers, mainly for children with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities).

20% of parents taking part in PACE have 3 or more children.




The top 10 barriers parents faced

Barrier % of
Financial hardship 66%
Mental health issues 35%
Poor housing 32%
Benefit capped 25%
Child’s behaviour / development 17%
English as an additional language 17%
Physical health issues 14%
Parental conflict 14%
Learning difficulties 10%
Additional carer responsibilities 8%

The PACE project continues

The European funding which set up PACE has now finished. However, due to the feedback from parents and the positive results, PACE will continue to be run by teams working in the city’s Children’s Centres and Family Information Service.

How to get involved with PACE

If you are a parent with a child aged under four and you are interested in finding out more about PACE, please send an email to familyinfo@brighton-hove.gov.uk and we can tell you more.

PACE Employment Network

We also have a PACE Employment Network that meets termly and is well attended by professionals from a wide range of services and organisations.

The network will meet online whilst Covid-19 restrictions are in place and new members are always welcome.

Send an email to familyinfo@brighton-hove.gov.uk to find out more.