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COUNCILS PRAISED AS CHILDREN'S CENTRES REACH OUT TO ONE MILLION

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Councils have taken the credit for record numbers of participants in Sure Start children's centres....
Councils have taken the credit for record numbers of participants in Sure Start children's centres.

One million children and their families can take part in the 1,250 facilities nationwide.

Local Government Association children and young people board chairman Les Lawrence said:

'It is a credit to councils that such an enormous number of people are now able to visit their local children's centre.

'Councils are locally responsible for the planning and delivery of children's centres. Up and down the country they continue to consult with parents, the private, voluntary and independent sector, and other key partners to locate and develop centres. It is with this joined up working that councils will strive to meet the 2010 target for every community to have its own children's centre.'

The centres are a one-stop shop for young children and parents, with early access to family health care, advice and support for parents, early education and care for youngsters and a link through to training and employment.

Many centres have additional new activities including groups for dads and kids, drop in sessions and baby massage. Increasingly a wide range of services are being offered at the centres including the option of registering new babies.

Children's minister Beverley Hughes said:

'We have reached a significant milestone in rolling out Sure Start children's centres and the families of one million children can now easily access the fantastic activities and services they are providing.

'I want Sure Start children's centres to be as much as part of the local community as the local school or GPs surgery - and for that to happen we want everyone to know what they can offer them and their children.'

Children & adult services

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