A BABYSITTING phone app launched by a Cotswold couple this summer is proving very popular with several hundred users.

Charlie and Candy Cowan, who have four children, moved to Hatherop from Malmesbury last year, setting up Bambino to help create a network of babysitters for themselves and others.

“We moved last year and had no network of babysitters in the area because we didn’t really know anyone,” said Charlie, 39.

“We decided to fix this problem by creating a secure network.”

He explained that each of the babysitters on the app have been interviewed by himself and Candy, 40, who have also completed all the appropriate background checks.

Parents can search for sitters using a variety of criteria, including references and rating, finding matches within 15 minutes.

“It’s been compared to Uber, and in some ways it is similar,” said Charlie, “but it’s not just about finding the person nearest to you that’s available. You get to make an informed choice based on different criteria.

“That’s the difference.”

He said parents are also screened to ensure the safety of babysitters, who can report any issues through the app while they are on a booking, while all payments are handled through the app itself.

Charlie said the key to the app was to not initially “overthink it” – from starting work on Bambino to its arrival in the app store was just 16 weeks.

“We wanted to get it out there, it’s the best way to learn about how people want to use it.

“There are many people creating apps who lock themselves in a room for a year but you don’t find the real problems until you get actual feedback.

“When we released it, it was only 10 per cent of what we wanted.

"We needed to allow it to grow properly through user experience.”

Currently covering Gloucestershire, as well as parts of Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire, the plan is for Bambino to eventually go nationwide.

Visit bambino-app.com for more information.