Emily Mascarenhas with Caterpillar, Trudi Harrison and Rachel McLean by Luke Dixon - www.lukepatrickdixon.com

The high cost of childcare and commuting is forcing women to give up their jobs to avoid ending up out of pocket, according to new research.

The latest ONS Labour Force Survey says the number of women opting to look after their children instead of doing paid employment has risen by 32,000 nationally since last summer, with rising childcare costs being a key factor in their decision.

However, local, entrepreneurial parents are taking matters into their own hands and returning to work under their own terms.

Two examples of success are For Sanity’s Sake co-founded by Rachel McLean and Andrea Quinteo, from Twickenham; and the local franchise of Caterpillar Music started by Emily and Tim Mascarenhas from Teddington.

Both businesses are run by parents with young children. Together with ‘Cakes by Trudi’, run by Teddington Entrepreneur Trudi Harrison, they are jointly celebrating a successful first year this October. Their birthday party is on 16th October 2011 and is open to babies and toddlers with a magically themed adventure show, where the audience will be transported to the ‘Land of Birthdays’. For tickets and more information see www.forsanityssake.com.

Emily and Tim Mascarenhas are both West End actors (Tim is currently on stage with Phantom of the Opera) and they are experts in broadening the imagination of young children while having lots of fun. Trudi will be baking a delicious, celebration birthday cake and each child will receive a piece to take away.

Emily says,

‘Stage and TV acting is a career that involves difficult hours so we made a decision to put our creative talents to use in starting our own business so that we didn’t miss out on our son’s early years. Developing a franchise takes the stress out of concept creation and the great thing is that we’ve been able to put our own stamp on the business, putting our theatrical skills to good use.’

For Sanity’s Sake support local businesses through a number of channels. They advertise Richmond Borough activities and events for young children for free in their unique calendar, showcase local providers and venues at For Sanity’s Sake events and provide evening networking events for working parents.

‘We came up with the idea for our Social Enterprise when all our friends went back to work after maternity leave and there was no central source of information for local activities and events. Our main focus is to help parents and carers get out of the house, have fun and make friends locally but we’ve been helping stimulate the local economy too’.

Rachel mentors a number of start-up businesses, is a founding partner of Richmond Social Enterprise. In May 2011, For Sanity’s Sake was an UnLimited Level 1 Award winner for it’s vision, drive, commitment and a passion to change the world for the better so she knows a thing or two about creating a successful start-up.

For Sanity’s Sake are looking to further improve their offering, as the local community are demanding volunteer role options for those with kids and the promotion of ‘Empty Spaces’ in the Borough so that those looking for venues for their new ventures can easily see what options are available.

To support For Sanity’s Sake in achieving their goal for the Richmond Borough please click on their entry for the NatWest CommunityForce initiative anytime from 26th September - 5th October. Their entry is for London but it would be great to see a Richmond Borough Not-For-Profit win: communityforce.natwest.com/project/5234

from a For Sanity’s Sake press release