SURE START CENTRES – USE THEM OR LOSE THEM
Posted by Kat Heath on 07 May 2018
You may be mistaken for thinking Sure Start centres are simply a place for weighing babies, however they offer so much more than this. In Epsom and Ewell we are fortunate to have five Sure Start centres within easy access for all families within the community.
- St Martins Children’s Centre, Worple Road, Epsom KT18 7AA
- Meadow Sure Start, Sparrow Farm Road, Stoneleigh, KT17 1XB 2LW
- Riverview Sure Start, Riverview Road, West Ewell, KT19 OJP
- Epsom Sure Start, Pound Lane, Epsom, KT19 8SD
- Epsom Downs Children’s Centre, St. Leonards Road, Epsom Downs, KT18 5RJ
All of which offer a variety of services including:
- Adult education courses, with an on site creche which costs just £1.
- Stay and Play sessions in which your child can explore learning with play. Some centres offer a healthy snack and an option to stay for packed lunch. (Donation of up to £2 maximum per session) these are also available in the school holidays.
- Baby massage courses, often provided by the community health visitors.
- Cookery courses such as cooking on a budget and currently at Epsom Downs they are offering a cookery course teaching parents and carers light lunch recipes which can be used for baby and toddlers to enjoy again with the option to stay for lunch.
- Baby weaning classes. Often run by health care professionals offering advice on successful weaning. Free of charge.
- Breastfeeding support groups, which are not only a lifeline for mothers needing advice on breastfeeding but also an ideal way of meeting other mums too. Often these sessions allow you to bring older siblings as well. Free of charge.
- Baby clinic and advice drop in. These sessions are run by community health visitors and are invaluable for those early weeks. Within these sessions you can have your baby weighed and discuss any concerns you may have regarding yourself or your baby.
- Bumps and Babies. A lovely way of meeting other mums over a cup of coffee. (Donation £1)
- Antinatal classes which are run by the epsom and St helier community midwife team. (Free)
- Rhyme time sessions are also available within the various Sure Start centres.
Unfortunately, throughout the media there has been reports published regarding the threat of these centres being closed down. According to the Guardian, 100 Sure Start centres were shut last year due to local authority cuts. Their use is being monitored within each centre therefore it is vital families continue to utilise them.
They serve as a hub for so many children and families and are an invaluable part of our community.
My personal experience with Sure Start centres has been amazing. Just last week I attended a baby massage class with my 9 week old son, Elliott. When Elliott was 3 weeks old I was diagnosed with post natal depression. Subsequently I suffered from this with my first son who is now 4 years old. I found it difficult to bond with Elliott after a difficult birth and felt overwhelmed with caring for my 4 year old at the same time. My health visitor enrolled me onto the baby massage course which I attend when my eldest is at nursery. It is time for just myself and Elliott. No interruptions and a great way to bond with the baby and meet other mums. There is a health visitor who teaches the session who is there to answer any questions you may have relating to your and your baby.
Also during the holidays I have found the Sure Start centres a godsend. They are open throughout the school and nursery holidays and often provide additional sessions with various themes relating to the time of year, such as easter egg hunts or summer garden clubs all for a very small donation ( no more than £2). What’s more is they have coffee and biscuits for the parents and carers. Which we all know are essential when caring for little ones!
So take a look at what the Sure Start centres can offer you and your little ones and make sure you visit them before we lose them all together.
To find out more speak to your health visitor or visit their individual Facebook pages for information.