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Free Bubble for the NHS: FAQ
Free Bubble for the NHS: FAQ
Updated over a week ago

To support the NHS during COVID19, and to help parents within the health service get to their shifts, we have modified our app to enable parents working in the NHS, to find free local childcare via Bubble.

We are doing this by offering the Bubble platform free of charge, and by modifying the booking feature to enable NHS Parents to match with local sitters who wish to volunteer for them.

Here are some FAQs about how the volunteer service will work.

Why is Bubble doing this?

The current pressures on our NHS are enormous and it is vital that NHS staff are able to get in to work and help patients. With many regular childcare facilities closing indefinitely, the childcare crisis within the NHS is acute right now. If NHS staff cannot find childcare, they cannot get to their shifts. Many sitters across the UK were keen to support them and volunteer their time. These include medical and healthcare students across the country. In consultation with them, we decided to modify Bubble, to facilitate volunteers who want to provide free childcare to parents in the NHS.

How do I sign-up for the service?

If you’ve not used Bubble before, simply search “Bubble Childcare” in your app store to download the app and register an account.

How does Bubble know if I’m an NHS worker?

We will ask you to sign-up with your NHS email address and provide us with your unique NHS identifier (e.g your GMC number). We will use this to verify your status as a worker within the NHS.

I don’t have an NHS identification number for Bubble to use, can I still use the service?

No problem. You can email with an alternative form of NHS ID. Go here for more specifics on how we can verify your NHS status in these circumstances.

I already use Bubble, and work in the NHS, how can I activate the free NHS service?

Inside of your app’s main menu, edit your email address to your NHS email and you will be able to validate your status as an NHS worker and get access to the free service.

I am a Key Worker but not for the NHS, can I also use this?

Unfortunately, not right now. Though we are actively considering ways on how we can expand our voluntary booking service to other key workers.

Is the service available nationwide?

Yes, the app and the service is built to work nationwide. We are working to sign-up as many volunteers as possible across the UK, and ultimately how many volunteer offers you will receive on your job posting will depend on the liquidity of sitters in your area. Our small team is working exceptionally hard to bring you the best possible service.

Will it cost me anything to use the service?

No. For NHS workers the service is entirely free. All Bubble booking fees are waived, and you will not be asked to pay anything to your volunteer. If you choose to book a sitter at their usual rate, then you will be asked to pay that sum through the app at the end – but the Bubble fees for NHS workers will still be zero.

Can I still pay for my sitters if I want to?

Yes. You will always get the option to request and book regular paid-for sits, if you want to.

Who are the sitters on Bubble?

Sitters on Bubble are typically, nannies, teachers, nursery workers and students. For this initiative, we are working with the National Health Supporters group, to connect NHS Parents with Medical and Healthcare student volunteers too.

What security checks have the sitters gone through?

All sitters must pass Bubble’s multi-step verification process, and the volunteers are no different.

This includes identity, online background and reference checks. Sitters with an enhanced DBS check can also have this verified by us so that parents can see this credential on their profile. Similarly, medical and healthcare students are able to verify their student status with us, and parents can see this on their profile too.

Crucially, parents on Bubble always have total control over the sitter they choose, with the app providing you with lots of smart information to make an informed choice.

For full details of the sitter security checks on Bubble, go here.

Will I only see volunteer sitters in my search results?

No. When you post a ‘volunteer’ job, we will prioritise volunteers in your area, but will still send your job out to non-volunteer sitters who can apply to it if they wish.

You will receive applicants back from both groups, with the app clearly distinguishing who is a volunteer and who is not.

Ideally, we hope to show you a very good range of volunteer options, but ultimately, we also want to ensure that in the worst case scenario, you at least get offers from people who will sit for you when you need them.

I can’t find a volunteer on Bubble, what should I do?

Please drop our team a message in live chat - which is open from 8am-10pm, seven-days a week. We will do our best to assist you and help you find an alternative solution.

Is booking a volunteer compatible with social distancing?

Yes. Supporting key workers within the NHS is a national priority, and leaving the home to volunteer for them is permitted.

We have designed this volunteering feature in close consultation with clinicians, healthcare workers and epidemiologists. Please see our latest guidelines on Social Distancing and COVID19.

It includes advice and a quick video on best practice in terms of hygiene and social distancing, whilst volunteering.

Thank you for your support, and to our NHS workers we salute you! We hope that this free service can in some small part help during what we know are such trying times.

If you have any further questions, please email and our customer success team will be only too happy to help.

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