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November 2018
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Giving children in Oldham a Sure Start

Sure Start Children’s Centres making a difference

At Oldham Council we are committed to supporting Sure Start Children’s Centres within our community and always work collaboratively with them to ensure that as many families as possible are engaged with the work they do.

There are currently 14 children’s centres in Oldham, with two more in the pipeline, enabling many local parents and their children to benefit from the wide range of facilities on offer. With services as diverse as health support; help for parents to find employment or training; maternity and post-natal support, we’re keen to ensure that all local families are aware of the facilities available on their doorstep.

Bringing children’s centres to life

In order to provide families with key information about Sure Start Children’s Centres, we have been working with local mums, dads and carers to share their experiences of using the services and seeing the benefits first-hand. We have found this method to be really effective as case studies bring the positive impact of children’s centres to life in a way that everyone can understand and relate to.

One of our children’s centres has worked with the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) as part of its national communications campaign. An inspirational story of a mum from Stanley Road Children’s Centre was placed in Take a Break and Reveal magazine and regional newspapers such as Oldham Advertiser and Manchester Evening News. Her story achieved a circulation of more than 1.5 million.

In October, we celebrated the partnership between Oldham Council and The Children’s Society with an event held at Medlock Vale Children’s Centre. The Children’s Society, as the commissioned lead agency, invited parents and family carers to speak at the event and share the positive impact children’s centres have had on their lives. It was encouraging for everyone there to hear first-hand how children’s centres in Oldham have improved the lives of local families.

Joined up thinking

We believe that working together with children’s centres, parents, schools, health services, job centre plus and other service providers gets the best results and we strive to ensure that plans and services are joined up in a way that is complimentary.

This partnership approach is co-ordinated by Oldham’s Children’s Trust which provides the leadership and direction to ensure that children’s centres and schools are at the centre of high quality, community owned services. The Children’s Centre Strategic Partnership works to establish clear channels of communication between individual advisory boards and the Children’s Trust to ensure that no voice goes unheard.

Making plans for the future

We are always on the lookout for ways to spread the word within the local community about Sure Start Children’s Centres.

Spring Meadows Children’s Centre recently trialled a partnership with Tesco to help more mums and dads back into work by creating better access to job opportunities at a new store. As part of this they worked with the Family Information Service (FIS) and job centre plus to provide advice and support to local parents returning to work, joined with Tesco to work on the Mayor’s fundraising event and facilitated training sessions at the Tesco store to promote the work that children’s centres do.

The partnership was a success, with Tesco’s Community Development Worker becoming engaged with children’s centres and committing to promoting the work they do. The project is currently developing to encompass three more children’s centres in Oldham with further promotional events arranged for the coming weeks.

Support for local authorities

Sure Start Children’s Centres provide a vital service to children and families and ensuring that as many people as possible hear about them is high up on our agenda. Through our collaborative approach, we continue to focus on what matters most making sure that our partners as well as local parents and carers play an increasingly significant role in shaping their future.

Support is available thanks to the template materials and support that the DCSF provides on its Every Child Matters website have a look for yourself and think about how you can give families in your community a Sure Start.

For further information, visit dcsf.gov.uk/everychildmatters and click on ‘Sure Start Children’s Centres’.

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