Beverley Gazy and Tina Southwood have over 50 years’ combined experience of looking after babies and their parents. They have also both run their own consultancy businesses. All of that will be useful for their new venture, Babyworks UK, a nanny agency which provides everything from night nannies to emergency care and holiday nannies, post natal depression support and au pairs.
The two met at the Baby Show and started talking. Earlier this year they launched Babyworks UK. At around the same time Beverley launched her own business, PlacentaUK, a dedicated placenta remedies consultancy which teaches the benefits of consuming the placenta after birth. “The placenta is an amazing organ full of vitamins and minerals. It is amazing for recovery from birth. Women who consume it suffer less post-natal depression, less bleeding after childbirth and have more energy,” says Beverley, who has been a doula – offering emotional and physical post-natal support to mums – since her 14-year-old twins were little.
Tina is owner and founder of Sleep Baby Sleep, a maternity night nurse and sleep therapist consultancy. She has been a nanny since 1988 and says she always knew that she wanted to work with children. She started specialising in sleep issues when a mum of twins she was working for asked her to help her overnight to give her some respite. She swapped days for nights and helped to get the twins into a routine.
Tina said moving from days to nights helped her too as she could be around during the day to drop and pick up her own children, now aged 19 and six, from school. That was in 2004 and six months later she was asked by an agency if she could help a mum with post-natal depression. Her baby was a difficult sleeper and again Tina got it into a good pattern. The mum said Tina was wasted as a daytime nanny. Tina decided to specialise in night nannying in 2005 and set up Sleep Baby Sleep. Demand was great and she now works with three families on a regular basis and receives great feedback from parents she has helped.
Tina and Beverley say Babyworks UK, which is based in Bedfordshire, acts as a business directory for all things birth and babies. That includes signposting people to everything from local baby swimming classes to homeopathic remedies and osteopathy. The agency also offers first aid training for parents, grandparents and nannies.
Initially they got asked for a lot of after school nannies, which they admit is difficult as most nannies want longer hours. They are gradually getting more requests for full-time nannies. They say there is a big demand for holiday and emergency care, for instance, to support mums who have suffered post-natal depression. They have also had requests for events nannies, for instance, a mum who getting married needed childcare support for her toddler so she could get ready.
The two have had a lot of nannies and maternity nurses registering with them and all are carefully vetted: they not only have to have proven experience, enhanced DBS clearance and two references, but also an up-to-date first aid certificate. Tina says one of her regrets with Sleep Baby Sleep was not having a business partner. The two women both work from home and run their other consultancy work alongside Babyworks UK. They try to meet up once every two weeks, but speak daily to bounce ideas off each other – they say that their different experience is complementary and provides a good balance. The two women hope eventually to reduce their consultancy work as Babyworks UK grows organically across the UK.
They are both passionate about helping parents. Beverley, who also has two older children, says helping parents getting children into a good routine can have a huge difference on parents’ lives. “Sleep deprivation is the worst form of torture. To give a parent the gift of a good night’s sleep after weeks of no sleep is amazing. They are so grateful and it so empowers them and helps to build their confidence. They feel in control. A lot of parents don’t realise how distressed their babies can get if they are handled all the time and overtired. They thrive on routine,” says Beverley.
There are different charges for different types of support. For night nannies, for instance, the agency charges £15 a night per nanny on top of the nanny’s fees which are around £15 per hour for one child.
Beverley says she and Tina are aiming high. “We would like to become one of the premier nanny agencies in the UK who people trust 100% to get the right candidates for the right position.”