We would like to provide parents and service users with additional information about our Children’s Centre services following some concerns raised on Facebook. We have tried to cover as many of your concerns as possible. However, if you have further queries, you can contact Karon Foulkes, General Manager for Children’s Services at Nottinghamshire Healthcare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Children’s Centres in Nottinghamshire are not closing
Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust can confirm that no Children’s Centres in Nottinghamshire are closing and this includes Bassetlaw Rural Children’s Centres Network at Misterton.
Children’s Centre services are not provided solely through buildings
Although many Children’s Centre services have a building, a “Children’s Centre” is actually a collection of services across an area, that can be provided from a wide range of community venues and, where appropriate, in the family’s home. In some areas across the county, some Children’s Centre services have no building at all.
Children’s Centre services are free to parents with some exceptions
Children’s Centre services are fully funded by Nottinghamshire County Council and are free to parents. The exception to this is when a Parent Group raises funds for trips or fun events, for which they may ask for a small contribution or if a partner organisation which is hosted in the Children’s Centre building offers a paid service e.g. some adult learning courses. This funding belongs to that hosted service and there is no financial contribution given to the Children’s Centre services provider or the County Council.
Bassetlaw Rural Cluster
Bassetlaw Rural Children’s Centre services group (known as a cluster) operates from 3 buildings, in Misterton, Langold and Harworth and in the community, with the main base for this cluster being at Langold. The team covers a vast area which includes all the rural villages in the north of the district, as well as Carlton in Lindrick, Langold, Blyth, Harworth and Bircotes. Each area’s service is planned against the needs of that community, within the capacity of the team and the agreed Children’s Centre service core offer. Requests for a service are dealt with on an individual basis, through our referral process.
Children’s Centre services ethos
The Children’s Centre services ethos is to work in partnership with a wide range of other professionals and organisations. This includes working alongside childcare providers and many of these providers already operate from our dedicated buildings.
Universal community groups open to all parents
The “reach area” for the Bassetlaw Rural Children’s Centre Network includes all rural villages in and around Misterton, covering approximately 85 square miles. There are a number of other universal community groups, which are open to all parents that take place in this area and include:
- Playgroup at Walkeringham Primary school on a Tuesday afternoon
- Ladybirds playgroup that operates from the Misterton building on a Tuesday afternoon
- Gringley playgroup on a Wednesday
- Mattersey playgroup at the primary school on a Thursday afternoon
- Everton Playgroup on a Friday
- Playgroup at Walkeringham Village Hall on a Friday morning all catering for children from birth.
As Ladybirds is a long-standing, community-led playgroup, we were keen to make sure we retained this session within our building, for local families, which will run alongside the new Children’s Centre Family Support Drop In session (which will also include appointments).
Ensuring there is sufficient childcare is the responsibility of Nottinghamshire County Council, who have access to all Ofsted registered childcare providers, local statistics on the number of under 5’s in an area, the numbers of 2, 3 and 4 year olds who are eligible for funded childcare and the take up rates of those children and this informs the decision making for areas where there is a need for more provision.
In addition to the playgroups, the area is served by two Ofsted registered pre-schools, Speckled Frogs Pre-school at Beckingham and Misson Pre-school - both take children from 2 years of age and have 5 registered childminders. The closest day nurseries, providing day care are in Retford, Langold and Harworth or over the county border in Gainsborough. All of this group provision is some distance from Misterton itself and to support the extended 30 hours childcare offer for working parents a decision was made to maximise the use of these child-friendly and locally accessible centres.
Children’s Centre services often provide a crèche supporting a programme for parents but they do not routinely provide childcare where parents (or government) pay to leave their children. Where this does occur this is usually because we are hosting Ofsted registered day care provision within a Children’s Centre building. The need for childcare places has increased substantially with the introduction of funded places for some 2 year olds (particularly from low-income families) and the extended offer of up to 30 hours of funded early education and childcare for 3 and 4 year olds with working parents, earning less than £100,000 each, along with the 15 hours available for all 3 and 4 year olds.
Universal services provided by our Healthy Family Teams
Universal services are also provided through the Healthy Families Programme, delivered by the Healthy Family Team (formerly called health visitors and school nurses) which is for all children aged 0-19 years, with both services being provided by Nottinghamshire Healthcare. The Healthy Family Team will continue to work in the same way as always in that they will arrange appointments either in the home or at a community venue.
The majority of the Children’s Centre services will continue as part of the new “core offer”, tailored to meet the specific needs of individual families and therefore access will be according to that need. This should help with achieving the best outcomes for children and families, as more time will be spent understanding needs and working together to address the specific challenges they face, either through an appropriate group or on a one to one basis. Examples include work on supporting good sleep routines, healthy eating advice and support for children’s early language development or advice to support parents with their child’s behaviour.
Access to Children’s Centre services
There are no changes proposed to the way that parents are able to access Children’s Centre services, for example by filling in a self-referral form, speaking to a member of staff, a health professional or their local nursery.
Current weekly Children’s Centre service provision at Misterton
Current weekly Children’s Centre service provision in the building consists of two sessions, Bumps and Babes on a Monday afternoon, following the Midwives appointments in the morning, and Stay and Play sessions take place on Wednesday afternoons. A group solely for registered childminders, which is run by the childminders themselves runs on Tuesday mornings. This is not open to parents. It is a network meeting that provides an opportunity to come together to support one another. No services routinely operate from the building on Thursdays or Fridays, although services are being provided where need has been identified. The building is used for staff to touch down throughout the week. ‘Touchdown’ enables the team to undertake outreach in Misterton and surrounding areas, with a base to return to in order to complete any follow up work or actions and there are no plans to change this. All other sessions are delivered by partners, namely Midwifery, registered childminders, health visitor developmental reviews and the universal and well attended Ladybirds session.
Based on the range of community groups already available for families to access in the wide reach area, as listed above, going forward the worker led sessions will include a Family Support Drop-In and 1:1 appointment session for advice on parenting and children’s early learning, with Ladybirds early years playgroup running at the same time as an existing community service within the centre. Other Children’s Centres sessions will respond to need and could include for example Sleep Tight group, Parenting Programmes, Cook and Eat Sessions, Baby Massage, Little Talkers group, responding to referrals where need has been identified, thereby increasing the range of services available to families.
Parents will continue to be able to access self-weigh when Children’s Centre staff are working in the property.
Summer Programme 2018
Traditionally the timetables have always been a little different over the summer holidays to take account that the whole family including older siblings may be attending, therefore the universal groups do usually cease at the end of term. Going forward the core offer will be available all year round.
Our summer programme 2018 includes:
07 August 18 – Walk & Talk around Walkeringham, meeting at 1:30pm (finer details to be confirmed) Guided walk around the area to encourage Speech and Language with children
08 August 18 – Skegness Trip, meeting at the Children’s Centre at 9:00am
While we are travelling we will be playing eye spy and having a song time amongst other travelling games. Once we have arrived in Skegness, families will have free time to explore but we will encourage parents/carers to use the same principles as Walk & Talk to encourage Speech and language. We are due to return to the bus for 3:00pm for the return journey. Booking is required
14 August 18 – Walk & Talk and picnic around Beckingham, meeting at 11:00am (finer details to be confirmed). This will include a guided walk around the area to encourage children’s language and speech development; as part of the route we are allowing time to stop for a picnic.
Other services and groups
In addition to providing direct delivery of Children’s Centre services the buildings also host a wide variety of other services and groups, delivered by partners such as midwifery services and Healthy Family Teams. These services are partners and decisions made by them that result in changes to their services are internal to the partner’s priorities and are not the decision of the Children’s Centre services provider or the Local Authority.
There are a wide range of volunteering opportunities across all Children’s Centres services for example, perinatal befriending and breastfeeding support. Our current volunteer recruitment drive is in response to identified gaps in specific areas for increasing volunteers, however any parent who is interested in joining the Children’s Centre services team as a volunteer should contact their local Children’s Centre who will be delighted to discuss this further.