A BRAMLEY business mum is supporting parents in their battle for flexible working.

Sam Willoughby has won the support of TV presenter Sarah Beeney and some big business names, including RSM Tenon and Hilton Hotels, to back The mumandworking 2010 Awards, which highlight the need and benefit of flexible working for parents.

The national awards reward and recognise companies and individuals that make flexible working possible and show that family-friendly employment not only supports family life, but benefits the companies involved.

Flexible working is close to Sam’s heart as it was this issue that led her to start her successful whatson4littleones.co.uk website in March 2006.

The winner of INSPIRE07 E-Business of the Year and the Hantsweb Special Interest Website 2007 spoke of the difficulties she experienced with her employer after the birth of her daughter Alice.

Sam said: “My employer at the time was a well-known company in Reading, where I was a project manager. I talked to them about a flexible way of going back to work, but they really weren’t interested.

“It was a very hard time for me and I just felt discarded, worthless and thrown away.

“But I picked myself up and realised that it was up to me to make a flexible job for myself.

“Six months later my first website what’son4littleones was all designed and live.”

Since then Sam has launched two other websites, whatson4schoolkids.co.uk and whatson4kidsparties.co.uk and has bought an existing site called mumandworking.


She is also looking to franchise the What’s On 4 business across the UK and in Australia.

“It’s been an amazing four years, starting from a little idea and seeing the business grow and expand to four websites that have over 50,000 parents using them,” said Sam.

To launch The mumandworking Awards, Sam commissioned a survey which shows that many parents are leaving employment, with many prizing time with the family and flexible hours over job security and the amount they earn when choosing a job.

Among those surveyed, 80 per cent of parents said they had changed their working pattern since having children.

Nearly three in ten found that their work hours did not fit the childcare available, and three in 20 found that it was financially no longer worth working due to the cost of childcare.

To enter the awards or nominate someone visit mumandworking.co.uk.