Chuckling Goat

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Chuckling Goat is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Highlighting best practice
Highlighting best practice
Chuckling Goat’s award-winning
probiotic kefir drink
Chuckling Goat Co-Directors Shann
and Richard Jones, along with daughter
Elen and son-in-law Josh Armstrong,
form the core of the family business
Chuckling Goat manufacture live culture drink kefir and
kefir skincare products. Awarded Best New Dairy Drink
in 2018, they now export their products to 56 countries
across the world and are part of the NHS-accredited mywellness
programme. They are also a member of the Royal College of
Obstetricians’ Mum Plus One initiative, and they were featured
in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s official book
Our Royal
. CEO and Founder Shann Jones sets out her proposals for
NHS and childcare reform in the UK.
While parliament rages on about Brexit, I’m concerned with two other issues which
no one appears to be addressing. Two issues which could fix one another:
»The slow-motion crash and burn of the NHS
»The pitiful lack of good on-site childcare facilities in the UK
Firstly, let’s consider how the two are connected. One preventable cause behind
the fiscal implosion of the NHS is diabetes which, arguably, is bringing the NHS to
its knees. Research presented at the annual meeting of the European Association
for the Study of Diabetes found that the NHS spent £5.5 billion on diabetes care in
2017/18, almost ten per cent of the overall hospital budget. An estimated £3 billion
of this was deemed excessive expenditure.
Over the next 25 years, this figure is set to increase to £16.9 billion, an eye-
watering 17 per cent of the entire NHS budget.
»Directors: Shann and Richard
»Established in 2014
»Based in southwest Wales
»Services: Gut health products
including kefir, microbiome
testing and probiotic skincare
»No. of employees: 22
»Winner Welsh Family Business
of the Year 2019
Chuckling Goat
The power of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is an incredibly simple
mechanism to prevent diabetes for
both mother and child. Studies found
that mothers who nursed babies for
at least six months were 48 per cent
less likely to develop diabetes than
those who did not breastfeed at all.
Likewise, children who were never
breastfed had a twofold increased
risk of type 1 diabetes compared
with those who were breastfed for
Of course, for this to be achieved,
mother and child need to be together
and in the same place for the child’s
first year. This is not possible with the
appalling state of childcare facilities
currently in the UK.
The need for more on-site
childcare facilities in the
On-site childcare facilities are not only
good for children, employees and the
NHS’ budget, but also for employers.
Businesses lose an estimated $3
billion due to childcare-related
absences. On-site childcare has been
linked to increased applicants, lower
absenteeism, improved employee
attitudes, favourable publicity and
improved community relations.
I can proudly say that Chuckling
Goat will be opening its own on-site
childcare facility, Chuckling Kids, in
September 2020.
Why? In business, you learn from and
adjust to changing circumstances. Case
in point. Within just a few months, my
daughter, our office manager, became
pregnant, followed by our head of
dairy and then my other daughter.
Further to this, my head of PR was
also pregnant – our maternity leave
cover had left the BBC because they
offered her full time or nothing during
It was these stacked events that
opened my eyes to the shockingly
inadequate provision for childcare in
the UK.
The rising cost of childcare
Currently, working women expecting
a baby in the UK no doubt have
anxieties surrounding finding suitable
childcare, costs and adequacy. For
working parents, childcare is a major
expense and cause of stress. A
childcare survey of over 1,000 parents
in the UK found that two thirds had
made financial sacrifices to cover
childcare costs, a cost which is always
on the rise.
Some full-time working families are
spending up to 45 per cent of their
disposable income on childcare,
with some parents not seeing any
financial gain from moving into work
once they have paid childcare costs,
particularly if they have a partner who
is alreadyworking.
Additionally, finding childcare at
any cost is becoming increasingly
difficult. The number of childminders
in England alone has fallen by
10,000 in just five years, and, even if
parents do manage to find affordable
care, collecting children can be
Chuckling Goat creates
a range of hand-made
natural health products
on their family farm
I can proudly say
that Chuckling
Goat will be
opening our
own on-site
childcare facility
in September
Highlighting best practice
Highlighting best practice
The value of on-site childcare
Offering on-site childcare can help
employers both attract and retain
talent. A study by childcare provider
Bright Horizons found that employees
were 78 per cent less likely to leave
an employer because of childcare
issues if they had access to a
Similarly, the Modern Families Index
2015 suggested 59 per cent of parents
would consider their childcare options
before applying for a promotion or a
new job, with 40 per cent stating they
would give up a week of paid leave for
dependable childcare.
Despite some progress, women still
tend to manage the bulk of childcare
issues and value childcare support
highly. At a senior level especially, this
could help broaden opportunities for
more women in top jobs.
Increasingly, however, fathers looking
at new roles are also assessing whether
a position can support a better work–
life balance and enable them to take
an active part in caring for their child.
For example, 68 per cent of younger
working fathers drop their children off
at school.
Employees who feel comfortable
balancing work and childcare, and are
supported to do so, tend to value their
employer more and are less likely to
leave. A global survey by Hay Group
found that 27 per cent of employees
in organisations not supporting a
work–life balance planned to leave the
company within the next two years.
Furthermore, supportive employers
also tend to retain greater numbers
of mothers after they return from
maternity leave. In fact, 86 per cent
of mothers who had access to five or
more family-friendly options in their
workplace returned to work after having
a baby, compared with 42 per cent who
were offered no such arrangements.
As an employer I find these statistics
of interest. My business is heart-led,
however, and my company motto is
family first. I’m a gut health expert. I
go with my gut.
I’m not just setting up Chuckling
Kids because the numbers work.
I’m doing it for my own employees
who otherwise will struggle to find
decent childcare facilities, pay up to
45 per cent of their monthly earnings
to childcare facilities and make their
lives so much more difficult than they
should be.
I’m doing it so that mothers can
breastfeed, fathers can pop down
in their lunch hour and kids can be
well looked after, knowing that their
parents are just around the corner.
It will make my team happier, make
their children healthier and do our
little bit to lift avoidable weight
from the NHS. It will make our little
corner of the world in southwest
Wales more beautiful, happier and
Our business
is heart-led;
our motto is
‘family first’
Co-founders Shann
and Richard Jones, with
Annie the Goat

This article was sponsored by Chuckling Goat. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.