our Every Child Matters page here.
our engaging with children page here.
our Childcare Voucher page
Visit our Buildings page here.
on this page : Hard
to Reach Groups : Childcare
Ireland : SureStart
Children's Centres :
and Young People are the ‘magic’ in our vision, our development
and our future success.
the essence that will make our projects come alive.
with children and young people builds on our aims to enable and empower
all children and young people, especially where they are
disenfranchised in communities.
specialised expertise and knowledge which covers across the years from
0 - 19.
education programmes, both specifically wuth schools and education
establishments, to broaden horizons and provide additionality to the
coordinate and project manage centres delivering childcare, including
provision from 0- 5 and after school and holiday clubs.
with local authorities,statutory and voluntary organisations to
deliver and manage programmes supporting children and young
fully in working directly with children and young people in decision
making and organising projects, ensuring full participation.
2010 we are actively involved in for example:
opportunities for young children at a Children's Centre in south
London. This will also involve school age children at the school and
enabling the 10 and 11 year olds to have a voice in the delivery of
outside play areas and activities on offer.
with a team to engage with older children in the delivery of a radio
station and future film club.
further examples of our work with children, young people and families
on the website pages.
and at City Stories,
a collaborative project to develop a love of books
A Westminster Children's Society sponsored seminar
Sue Martin reflects on the creation of community
enterprise in childcare settings.
of Commons – Thursday 20
How to begin? Loiter with intent - a good way to find out more about
the people you are working with says Lord Mawson.
This is not meant to encourage you to be an
unofficial community 'Snoopy' but as an interactive way to see what
would really help people. Using a young family living on the 10th
floor of a block of flats in Bromley by Bow as an
illustration, Lord Mawson suggested three ways he
considered helping the local community...
The last seemed to
be the best and most immediate thing he could do.
further degree in social policy related field
his office or church and wait for them to
come to him
and speak to people and set up an enterprise
By establishing a social enterprise, the people in
the community could all use their skills and expertise, they were the
ones with the innovation. He was the one with the confidence who could
help them to make it work. In creating a unique selling point (usp) and
in using the passion and energy of the people, the social enterprise is
An example was of an art gallery in a church, where
many artists were able to show their work and in using the church rooms
for the display it became a very popular place to visit and to start to
buy unique pieces of art.
What makes a successful social enterprise?
In the development of social enterprise and
childcare Lord Mawson proposed three key aspects:
team not a
with local businesses
Once an establishment has moved away from being
dependent on receiving funding to determine its own future it is
incredibly empowering and exciting. People can achieve and work
together in a team and community endeavor.
of the children
and social capital
Childcare or building children's lives has a real
future for everyone.
Making Communities Work
'When Andrew Mawson arrived in Bromley-by-Bow in the east end
London, in the 1980s, it was in a state of social, economic and
material disrepair. Living there, getting to know the residents and
institutions, he soon realized that by unlocking its untapped
potential, the community could begin to turn itself around. The result:
the Bromley-by-Bow Centre has encouraged literacy, housing, business,
health, welfare and enterprise in the area to flourish.
Time and again using the same approach, Mawson has succeeded
where the government and others have failed. His inspiring and timely
book will demonstrate, through his own experience how, by seeking
creative, dynamic, entrepreneurial ways of tackling seemingly
intractable social problems, we can all make real changes in our
Atlantic Books (1 Jan 2008)
information try the following links...
A description of the development of social
enterprise in communities by Lord Mawson can be found in an article
Guardian, January 9th
- information from the SmithMartin Partnership on community enterprise.
- Information from SmithMartin on care and education issues
and related work in SureStart Children's Centres.
London Early years Foundation – A charity, a nursery and a social
enterprise with a focus on caring for the children and fees linked to
what parents can afford.
The Social Enterprise Coalition promotes best practice amongst social
enterprises through networks and publications.
http://www.sel.org.uk/ Social Enterprise is an agent for change. They work
with individuals, enterprises, organisations and government to make
social enterprise happen.
National Children's Charity working with government, local authorities,
children and parents to ensure joined up support for children and young
Sacrifice Schemes and Benefits to Working Families
A salary sacrifice
happens when an employee agrees to give up the right to a portion of
their salary under their contract of employment. In return they receive
a non cash benefit which is of advantage to them. The sacrifice is
achieved by varying the employee's terms and conditions of employment
relating to pay. A Salary Sacrifice scheme can be run as a solo scheme
or as part of a flexible benefits package.
it benefit working families?
The benefit to
working families can be in the form of direct payments to their
childcare provider from the employer. Although the salary is reduced
the employees are not incurring tax costs on this amount and the value
of the benefit in kind is usually greater than the net cash that would
have been received.
it benefit employers?
It is of benefit
to employers because it is an opportunity to show value to staff
throughout their employment career. It helps with retention of staff as
they are experiencing the issues around raising a family and working
life. It helps with recruitment of new staff as part of a possible
package of measures to promote 'Family Friendly' employment. It also
minimises costs for both recruitment and retention of staff.
to working families.
It is normal
practice for the parent to agree the amount that the salary would be
reduced at the start of the financial year, which would be the
projected costs of the childcare. If not all of that amount is used for
childcare there may be some loss of financial benefit.
There could be a
loss of payment into the pension scheme and entitlement to state
The scheme needs
to be clear about future salaries and increases in payments.
There will be a
cost of administration of the payments to providers. It is normal for
the payments only to be made to registered childcare providers.
It can be seen as
being of no benefit to employees who are not requiring childcare but
could be part of a range of 'Family Friendly' benefits.
There are some
interesting methods of enabling parents to achieve a good working /
life balance and to ensure that their children are both well cared for
and receiving good quality education. The salary sacrifice schemes can
help to achieve that and the above information is intended as a '
flavour' of some of the benefits.
websites may help:
Hard to Reach Groups
and Children’s Centres
An article by Sue
Martin, with additional content by Parveen Hussain.
Centres are an important initiative in the government’s drive to
eliminate child poverty and to reduce inequalities and the effects of
disadvantage on young children and their families. They are a major
contributor to delivery of the outcomes in ‘Every Child Matters: being
safe, staying healthy, enjoying and achieving, economic well being and
making a contribution.
of the key
principles for Children’s Centres are to provide services for all
children under five and their families. They are designed to encourage
access to mainstream children’s services.
is a duty
to improve life chances for all children, but in particular to reduce
the inequalities between the poorest children and others. However, the
most disadvantaged groups are often the least likely to use the
Centres need to do more to reach the disadvantaged children and
and Performance Management Guidance’ from Sure Start, DfES one of the
Performance indicators is access for the most excluded groups.
balance between working with groups of children and families who are in
need and disadvantaged and groups who are referred to as ‘Hard to
services are genuinely inclusive and available to all, Children’s
Centres should offer a range of services, which are accessible to
different groups within their community and focussed on known
groups may be included in disadvantaged groups, but will include other
children and families, who are not accessing services and are difficult
to engage in communication, for whatever reason. They are also unlikely
to ask for support and not to be aware of the services on offer.
- Together for
Children definition of disadvantaged groups includes:-
- Teenage parents
- Partners and
families of prisoners
- Parents with
drug and alcohol problems
- Minority groups
and ethnic families
- Being homeless
- Families in
- Lone parents
- Children and
families with disability and/or special needs
Centres Unique Identification
Centres are in a position of working closely within their community and
are able to engage with 'hard to reach groups' known to them.
contributing factors can include:-
Working with hard to reach families. Parveen Hussein , 11.01.2007)
- Poor physical or
emotional health or feeling isolated or depressed
- Problems with
hostile or suspicious of statutory providers
- Living in
poverty and deprived environment with limited means of transport or
- Suffering from
domestic violence or abuse
discriminated because of being a minority community group or being
refugee or asylum seekers
- Have few or no
models of good parenting because of their own experiences of deprived
or abusive childhood
- A parent in
prison or known to be engaged in criminal activities
- Parents working
long and unsocial hours
- Lone parents
with limited family or social networks
and disorganised lifestyles including being highly mobile and transient
wider number of people across social groups and some of whom have
social, mental health and physical problems become unlikely to access
above categories are to be found across the definitions of
disadvantaged groups and indicate the people with whom it is difficult
to engage. These groups are considered as genuinely ‘ hard to reach’
and also in need.
- Families who
speak other languages where verbal and written communication is a
- Chaotic family
- Families with a
fear of authorities
- Families with a
history of exclusion
- Families with
low aspirations and achievements,
- Families where
women are not encouraged to socialise outside the family and where
women are often oppressed by partners/husbands and relatives.
disadvantaged groups are considered to be in need but not necessarily
‘hard to reach’.
Centres are in a strong position to identify and develop strategies to
work with ‘hard to reach’ groups within their own communities
report from the National Audit Office on Sure
Start Children’s Centres indicates that Centres need to identify ‘hard
to reach’ groups in their communities and to work with the local
authorities to develop strategies and methods which can be measured and
included in the Performance Management for Children’s Centres reporting.
part of the drive to eliminate child poverty, Children's Centres will
be able to make a significant difference to the lives of many children
and their families.
- Targeted support
from outreach workers
- Strong links
with health organisations
- Sharing data on
disadvantaged children and families
- Regular tracking
of hard to reach groups to measure ‘take up’
voluntary and community organisations
- Connect with the
wider family members
awareness of services available at Children’s Centres
- Ensure all staff
accessibility of main site
outreach services to homes
transport for isolated families
social networks amongst parents
advice in an informal way
their own success in partnership working and effective outreach support
in a targeted and sensitive way they will determine better life chances
for children today.
websites to visit
Since establishing the Office of the
Minister for Children (OMC), the government has shown committment to
improving the lives of children in Ireland through the National
Children's Strategy. Many initiatives and procedures are now in place,
which when fully implemented will bring huge benefits for for all
children and young people.
The OMC will be focussing on areas
such as :-
The Minister for Children, Brian
Lenihan is at the forefront of policy and delivery in enabling children
to have a stronger voice on issues that affect them. He is already
- Implementation of the National Childcare Strategy
- Implementing the National Childcare Investment Programe
- Developing policy and legislation on child welfare and
On 6th October
2006 he announced the new Childcare Regulations,which will be
implemented in January 2007.The regulations will be important in
ensuring that quality provision is put in place and that standards of
childcare are maintained at a high level throughout Ireland.
the Children Act (2001)
An exciting time to be involved in
working with childcare and pre-school education in Ireland. The
investment in both capital projects and for revenue will enable
organisations to deliver childcare into areas where there is a proven
need and be part of a package of programes to lift areas out of
There will be benefits to children and
families in Ireland and this will be reflected through higher
achievements, outcomes and to improved opportunities for employment and
training. People's life chances and aspirations for their families will
see a better future.
There are a number of models in other
European countries where support to make quality childcare affordable
has real long term economic benefits, a real spark to a growing and
dynamic economy and a way to improve the life opportunities for young
useful set of resources - focused on the West of Ireland, - but
with content around the national context too.
of the Minister for Children - Ireland
of the developing childcare strategy in Ireland.
Start Children's Centres
children are now being supported
by the 1000 Sure Start Children's Centres running across the country,
in the most disadvantaged areas.
provide good quality integrated
services to children under five and their families. They aim to give
every child the best possible start in life and they will have a broad
and lasting impact on children, their parents and the wider community.
are provided in a 'joined up way'
which is having a major role in the way parents can contact
professionals for support and help.
key reason for the success of
children's centres is the involvement of parents in the development and
delivery of services."
Beverley Hughes; letter to Children's Centre Managers 4.10.06
We are fully
involved in the Phase 2 development of Childrens Centres, engaged with
a large London Borough to ensure successful completion of an ambitious
Capital Strategy teams, finance and business planning and the Early
Years teams we provide a package of measures to deliver a range of
models many of which are based within schools.
Children's Centre programme is a major part of
the Government's 10 year Childcare strategy. The ambitious plans for
establishment of a Children's Centre in every community by 2010 is
backed by substantial funding to enable Local Authorities to deliver
first Children's Centres are now established in
the most disadvantaged communities. Phase 2 will see this extended in
more communities to ensure that by 2008 30% of the most disadvantaged
areas in the country.
centres will provide a base for delivering high
quality childcare and the 'core offer', working within a partnership
agreement between a range of providers, including Health, Education,
Job Centre Plus, National Childminding Association, Social Services and
the Voluntary and Community Sector.
What do they do?
Children's Centres serve a
community for about 800 children under five years old and their
families, although this can be smaller numbers in dispersed rural
There a range of
models depending on the community; from inner city to rural and
following consultation the most suitable model can be utilised.
Initially new buildings were designed and built and although this is
still continuing, there is also emphasis on adaptations and
refurbishing, especially in the involvement of schools and the Extended
for a minimum of five days a week,
48 weeks a year and 10 hours a day.
Years and childcare provision with teacher input.
and family health services.
base for child minder networks.
for families and children with special needs.
links with JobCentre Plus,local training providers and further
make this vision come to life delivery of the
project is the responsibility of the Local Authorities. They have been
given substantial funding to enable this to happen but there are many
issues around the initial development stages and consultation which
create hazards and time delaying factors. It is no small feat to
deliver such an expansive programme within the community to the
envisaged time scales.
Consultation with stakeholders and user groups,
parents and families is an essential driver of ensuring that the
programme meets the needs of the community it serves.
and partnership with a range of
providers will mean that Children's Centre's across the country will be
a creative range of models, from newly constructed premises to
buildings with existing provision, to a 'hub and spoke' approach with
outreach access across communities.
Vision and Future
an exciting programme will enable families,
parents and children to have access to services, advice and support. It
will bring together a wealth of partners who are all passionate about
making lives better for young children.
will 'front load' services in the foundations of
a child's development which should enable the child to have a better
chance in life's opportunities. It should signal the prevention agenda
which will not only be beneficial to the child but should also be
'funding helpful' in the future.
links to the five outcomes of Every Child
Matters are fundamental to the programme.
Enjoy and Achieve
Make a Positive Contribution
Achieve Economic Well-Being
SmithMartin Partnership for further
help or an informal discussion.
we might help.
projects to develop outreach - facilitating new experiences in culture,
arts and the environment.
planning for the formation of Children's Centres, by working
with partnerships developing processes and strategies to achieve the
five outcomes of The Children's Bill.
in exploring ways to create participation of children and
young people in their right to be involved in decisions affecting their
lives, making policies and outcomes relevant, transparent and
of School child-care schemes we can help projects to maximise
funding and service user take-up. Using social enterprise expertise to
ensure a long-term service future.