Home and family

How family friendly is your neighbourhood?

Natural Home by digitalart on FreeDigitalPhotos.netImage credit: digitalart | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Is your area a family friendly hotspot?

When Olivia was a few months old, my husband and I made the decision to move house. We packed up our worldly possessions and transported them roughly one hundred miles away to a new town to raise our family.

Why did we do it? We weren’t originally planning on it. We were living in London at the time, in a flat we had just about managed to buy, and were very happy. We were looking at local nurseries for Olivia and considering which schools she would go to when she got older. As far as we were concerned, there was no move for us on the horizon.

But then an opportunity arose to buy a home close to my in-laws. We turned it down originally thinking it didn’t make sense for us. There would be longer work commutes involved, especially for my husband and renovations to do on the new house.

But then we thought about it. It might make things a little more difficult for us as adults, but it would mean a better quality of life for our child. And that is priceless. So we moved.

It’s natural that, as parents, you want the best for your child. To give them as much as you can possibly give. You want to know how good the local childcare is, how well local schools are performing and how many parks there are to run about in and have adventures, as well as other leisure activities.

It’s something that’s not gone unnoticed either. The financial services company Family Investments has developed an online interactive tool so that you can find out how family friendly your (or another) area is. It’s a great way to find out if your town is a family friendly ‘hotspot’, telling you in just a few seconds how safe your area is, what the quality and cost of childcare is like, educational achievements and the number of family friendly amenities there are. You can even compare postcodes so if you’re thinking of moving, you can easily see how the 2 areas square up to each other. It doesn’t tell you everything, but it’s effective in providing a ‘flavour’ of how things are.

My town may not be Bingham in Nottinghamshire (recently crowned the most family friendly town in England and Wales by the 2013 Family Investments Hotspots report), but for us, there are a lot of up-sides to living where we do now. As well as the benefits of living closer to family, our home is on a quieter road than we were once used to, with parks and even a nature reserve close by. You get far more for your money when it comes to buying a home than you would in London and childcare costs are generally lower. Commuting costs are naturally higher now we live further out of the city, but that’s something we have to suck up and get on with. You can’t have everything after all.

What things are most important to you as parents and as a family?

Please note: This post has been commissioned by Family Investments.

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