(Actionforchildren.org.uk ) – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge recently visited Ballymena Sure Start – one of more than 100 children’s centres that we run across the UK.
Our centres provide essential support to children and families – but how much do you know about the difference they make? Here are four things you might not know about them:
They improve children’s life chances
The first years of a child’s life have a profound impact on educational and health outcomes. That’s why our centres support children to achieve their developmental milestones.
Last year, we worked with more than 8,000 children who had specific challenges like speech and language problems. We’re trained to identify early signs of developmental delay, and deliver interventions that make a positive difference.
They nurture physical and emotional wellbeing
Children’s health and wellbeing is at the heart of what we do. We partner closely with healthcare professionals, who offer support through our centres. Almost all of our centres (85 per cent) have health-visitor services delivered directly from them.
Almost two in three (65 per cent) of centres have a speech and language therapist, and 56 per cent have midwives. We help children build resilience early in life so they can cope with challenges when they arise.
They stop problems escalating
Children’s centres provide a wide range of support to families, such as parenting classes and substance misuse prevention.
We help children living with domestic abuse, those whose families struggling with money, and parents whose own childhood experiences affect their parenting. Addressing any issues as early as possible helps prevents potential problems from escalating.
They take a whole-family approach
To fully meet the needs of the children in our centres, we must also meet the needs of their families. We identify what other family members around the children need – and support all of them.
This helps families build positive relationships in those crucial early years. We provide essential support to more than 175,000 children and families in 2017-18. We also work with other services to make sure families get tailored, wrap-around packages of support.