If you’re a new mum or mum to be in the UK, the chances are you won’t know much about Sure Start Children’s Centres, aside from perhaps having been given some leaflets by your midwife or health visitor.
You might think the centres are not for you but they have so many positive things going on, that it really is worth giving them a try.
Sure Start is a UK government run initiative and there are centres all around the country. They aim to help parents and children in the community by organising events from pregnancy to five years of age. My first encounter with a Sure Start Children’s Centre was my NHS ante natal class; they were held at a centre in my town so while I was there I took the opportunity to learn about what services the centre could offer when my little one arrived. Now that my baby is here I go to a centre several times a week for different groups, and will continue to take her as she grows older and can enjoy even more activities and play sessions.
Because the centres serve their local community, each centre runs different activities to meet its specific local demands. Commonly you will find they offer services such as childcare facilities, toy libraries, baby and toddler groups, play sessions, singing, baby massage and yoga, postnatal depression support groups, breastfeeding support, access to health visitors, special needs support, stop smoking, benefits and employment advice, dads’ club and much more. Even better, most of these services are accessible to everyone, are free or at a low cost, with subsidisation available for those on certain benefits.
One of the best things I have found about the Children’s Centres in my area is that they get me out and about and meeting people. Going from full time work to full time motherhood is a huge change, so a bit of adult company and a chat with others in the same situation is invaluable to me. Talking to different people and sharing tips has helped me gain confidence in my parenting, and helped me make new friends in my local area. My baby is still small so can’t do many of the activities yet but she loves watching the older children play and interacting with the other babies which I know will help her social skills a huge amount.
As a new mum I would definitely recommend Sure Start Children’s Centres to other mums as there really is so much going on. If you don’t enjoy a particular activity, try something else, or even try a different centre, and you’re sure to find something just perfect for you and your little one.
To find your nearest Sure Start Children’s Centre click HERE and get in contact with them to receive their timetable of events or join their mailing list.ere