Sure Start

Education and Skills written question – answered on 8th March 2005.

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Photo of Mr Paul Stinchcombe Mr Paul Stinchcombe Labour, Wellingborough

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the effects of the Sure Start programme in the constituency of Wellingborough.

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Minister of State (Education and Skills) (Children)

There is one Sure Start Local Programme (SSLP), one Neighbourhood Nursery (NN) and one children's centre (CC) in it's planning stages in Wellingborough.

The Wellingborough Sure Start local programme was approved in 2003 and supports around 730 young local children and their families living in the catchment area. It has an indicative allocation of £1,075,000 capital grant, all of which has been approved and has received revenue of £700,000 in 2004/05, and will receive £768,752 in 2005/06 and £768,752 in 2006/07. The catchment area comprises three separate estates which each form part of three wards—Queensway, Croyland (Kingsway) and Hemmingwell. The programme delivers a wide range of services to support local families including:

continuity of care and midwifery support health advice and parenting support for child development and behaviour issues joint working at clinics e.g. a parent support group running at a health visitor clinic

Children's Information Service to provide information about Sure Start area

Mobile Toy library linking up with existing Parent and Toddler groups

Playgroup activities, continuous throughout holidays

Flexible childminders

Speech and language therapy

Since opening, Sure Start Wellingborough has helped improve the quality of life for local families. Local health visitors report back to the local programme on all women identified with post natal depression—including specific referral to the Sure Start programme to provide support. The programme funds a HomeStart worker to train and support an increased number of volunteers. There are four support groups currently running weekly where there are quality play activities and support for parents. A new group is starting in 2004/05 specifically for teenage parents. Groups which will run for specific periods of time are: Speakeasy (helping parents to talk about sex appropriately with their children), Parentzone (parenting course), EarlyStart (adult literacy and numeracy with activities with their children).

Health visitors aim to visit all children within two months of birth and give parents information about Sure Start services. Visit or contact is offered to all parents/carers not seen in the preceding three months. Roadshows" taken round to all three estates on a rolling programme provide information on aspects of parenting and respond to requests from parents for information. This five week programme deals with a theme each week which corresponds to one of the Sure Start objectives . The SSLP health visitor and midwife also provide outreach services.

As a recently approved round 5 Sure Start Programme, Wellingborough have only recently been required to submit reach data, however recent Sure Start Unit monitoring reports show that the programme is seeing 122 of their 729 children (17 per cent.) each month, and saw 11 per cent. new children in September 2004 as well as visiting 89 per cent. of new babies in the catchment area within the first two months of their lives.

The programme has recognised the need to broaden parental consultation to all .families. They have employed community development workers to work with parents in setting up the forum and continuing consultation.

The Croyland Neighbourhood Nursery is the only one in the constituency and opened as a 42 place nursery in March 2004. The nursery was awarded £202,851 revenue funding up until 2007, and also received a one off capital grant of £175,000 from the Big Lottery Fund. It is part of the planned children's centre and based on a school site.

The children's centre will bring together the SSLP and the NN and also includes a maintained nursery school and a pre school. The centre has an indicative allocation of £80,000 revenue from 2004–06 with a total indicative capital allocation of £350,000. The Croyland Centre will be situated in Croyland Ward and will work closely with the SSLP to provide integrated daycare and education. Centre managers are currently negotiating provision at both sites with the Primary Care Trust and Lifelong Learning. The Sure Start midwife is already working with a community midwife to provide ante-natal care on all three Sure Start estates. Family support will also be available on both sites, with the exact nature of this dependent on the expressed needs of the families. A pre-school in the town will be extended to provide a further 24 daycare places.

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