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Families at the heart of Knowsley’s Children’s Centres

by Gemma Melling

Knowsley’s Children’s Centre service has been undergoing a period of change with the needs of local families firmly at the heart of developments.

The Children’s Centre service is important and valued by the council and although Government budget cuts since 2010 have impacted on Knowsley more than any other local authority in the country and many local authorities are struggling to maintain a service, Knowsley Council is committed to sustaining the service for families into the future.

As part of the work to transform and improve Knowsley’s service more than 330 parents took part in a survey to find out about families’ priorities and what is important to them. As a result of the findings and input from the workforce, partners and health professionals the service now has a new improved offer for families.

All Knowsley children’s centres now offer ‘Getting to Know Your Baby’ helping expectant and new parents to bond with their new baby.

The ‘Peep Learning Together Programme’ is also part of the new offer supporting parents to better understand how young children learn and their important role as early educators. To help give their child the best possible start in life families are supported and encouraged to share books and stories with their children, sing and talk about thoughts and feelings and the world around them while going about day to day life with their child.

Cllr Joan Lilly, Cabinet Member for Knowsley Children’s Services, said: “We know the services and support delivered by Knowsley’s Children’s Centres are highly valued by families with young children who access the centres. The continued, long-term delivery of a high quality service, with the needs of local families at its core, has led to the transformation of the service. We now have a service which is fit for purpose and will provide a service to families when and where they need it.”

There has been a significant period of transition since September with Children’s Centres managers and staff getting to grips with new priorities and job roles.

During this time there have been some changes to the programmes of activities and some staff changes in the centres.

The transformed and improved service will continue to provide the best possible opportunities and support for children under five and their families when and where they need it.