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Nearly 50,000 children under four have been offered a route out of poverty through Sure Start - the government's£4...
Nearly 50,000 children under four have been offered a route out of poverty through Sure Start - the government's£452m flagship child poverty programme. Speaking at the annual Sure Start conference, education and employment secretary David Blunkett today invited a further 65 areas to take part, reaching up to 45,000 more children.

Fifty-nine projects providing radical health and early education support to families in areas of high social exclusion are now up and running - and are delivering results for 49,000 under fours.

For example, in Ore Valley, Hastings:

- the three Sure Start centres in the Ore Valley now provide a health and baby clinic, a children's music group, a 'get cooking' group to teach good nutrition on a budget and speech and language therapy programmes.

In Sheffield:

- parents are using a 'toolkit for babies', which helps them develop their child's sound and speech development.

In Fenland:

- the Sure Start bus visits the six villages - bringing play activities, a toy library, and a creche to families in this very rural area; and

- parents use the project's video-conferencing and email facilities to help them gain NVQ qualifications in childcare.

In Barrow:

- a freephone helpline has been set up to provide health and childcare advice to local parents every evening up to 11pm.

In Southwark:

- an 'art in the park' play and learning scheme works with the whole family to develop children*s early communication skills through art.

In Birmingham:

- young homeless mothers living in a local hostel are offered 'play and stay' sessions for their children while they receive health advice.

Mr Blunkett also announced plans for 65 new Sure Start areas nationwide, to add to the first 59 trailblazers which are up and running and another 70 projects which are opening shortly. Eleven of these 70 areas from the second round have now been given the go-ahead today (details attached in Annex B).

Mr Blunkett said:

'Sure Start is about building a future of opportunity and creating better life chances for thousands of young children and their families. The chancellor is laying the foundations for a stable economic future, and likewise we - through Sure Start - are laying the firm foundations for the health and educational prosperity of the

next generation. And, as the prime minister recently said, building strong and stable communities is essential if we are to offer families a route out of poverty.'

'Sure Start projects are now building the skills and confidence of parents and helping them find jobs, voluntary work and training. The government is committed to ending child poverty in 20 years - and that means practical help from the earliest stages of a child's life. As a vital part of this commitment, Sure Start is already helping to break the cycle of deprivation that leads to under-achievement in

later life.

'Sure Start can offer families something-for-something - a chance for economic independence and financial security that leads to a brighter long term future for their children.'

Public health minister Yvette Cooper said: 'I am delighted that we are able to announce the third wave of 65 more Sure Start programmes - building on the 59 trailblazer programmes up and running now.

'We know that children living in poor areas deserve the highest quality childcare and their parents deserve accessible and sensible advice and support. Their communities deserve to be recognised for their strengths. Sure Start involves parents and local people as real partners, identifying what is needed, deciding how it should be delivered, and choosing the staff to deliver it. This way, local

people can gain new skills and confidence that lead to education, training and jobs.'

Welcoming the third round of invitations, Margaret Hodge, minister for employment and equal opportunities, said: 'The early years of a child's life are crucially important for their future physical, emotional and intellectual development. We know that what children learn and how they learn has a great effect on the way they develop later on in life. We are investing billions each year in early years education and our national childcare strategy to give our children a better start in life. Sure Start complements that and provides high quality experiences for young children - with first rate services, well trained staff and centres that bring the

community together.'


1. The 65 districts invited to prepare plans for a Sure Start programme are listed in the attached Annex A. The invitation to develop proposals for the third wave is being sent to a wide range of groups - voluntary bodies, health services and local

authorities in the 65 areas. Key partners may wish to join together to develop their proposals in consultation with local parents and community organisations.

2. Sure Start is a cross-governmental programme, announced in July 1998 following the government's comprehensive spending review. The government is making available£542m (£452m in England) between 1999-2000 and 2001- 02 to establish at least 250 programmes across the country.


List of round 3 districts by region


Leicester Hackney

Derby Tower Hamlets

Bassetlaw Newham

East Lindsey Southwark

Northampton Lambeth

Newark and Sherwood Haringey

Chesterfield Brent










Middlesbrough Liverpool

Hartlepool Manchester

Darlington Knowsley

Berwick-upon-Tweed Blackburn with Darwen

Chester-le-Street Halton (Runcorn)




West Lancashire


Ellesmere Port and Neston












East Staffordshire





Kingston Upon Hull




North Lincolnshire

East Riding of Yorkshire



Milton Keynes





North Devon



Second round approvals with contacts:

Leeds (Bramley)

Partnership led by the NSPCC. There are 1,080 under fours in the area. Will provide extra childcare places; health visitor led drop-in sessions; links with the West Leeds Family Learning Centre for education opportunities as well as work taster opportunities; a reshaped health visiting service; baby clinics; extra speech therapy and dietary information provision. Also developing more playgroups as

well as safe play areas. Main base from which services will be offered and a strong emphasis on outreach work. Programme will receive up to£2.8m until March 2003.


Led by North Nottinghamshire Health Authority through Nottinghamshire Childplan. Planned activities include: extra health promotion work in schools and nurseries; linking with Healthy Schools; lifesaver first aid training for parents using the local St John's Ambulance; breastfeeding mothers to receive fruit and vegetables; establishment of a mobile toy library; new creche facilities and a supported

tenancy scheme for vulnerable families. Will receive up to£1.6m over the next three years.

Manchester (Benchill)

Manchester's second Sure Start programme will receive up to #2.54m to March 2003. Led by Barnardo's North-West through Family Action Benchill. Three mini 'one-stop' shops in local bases to deliver services. Services include: additional health visiting services; extended community creche provision; a family literacy scheme;

increased screening and extra audiology services; more speech and language therapy and support to vulnerable and isolated families before they reach crisis stage. Parents will also be offered training on child health and safety through use of the Child Alive training package.


Based in Hattersley, the programme has£1.19m over three years. Services include: development of existing positive parenting programme; extended Bookstart scheme with Bookstart book collections at clinics and creches; a better podiatry advice; a safety equipment purchase scheme; expanded Home start service; support for local

groups wanting to establish parent and toddler playgroups and creche. Also planned: an oral health project and more healthy food and drink choices in community settings. Closely linked to the Hattersley Development Trust.


Nottingham's second Sure Start programme will receive£2.25m from now until March 2003. Based in the ethnically diverse area of St Ann's and working with the Renewal Trust, a local development trust. Services include: a Children's Information Service point; dental information advice and support; drop-in childcare facilities; more

playgroups and parent-toddler groups; breastfeeding support and a 'Books for Babies' scheme. Also planned: a Community Parents Scheme for befriending and social support with opportunities for parents to achieve qualifications; childcare sessions so families can use the large 'Hungerhill Allotments'; a speech and language therapy video link and soft play facilities.


Led by the Karis Neighbour Scheme. Sure Start Capital Programme involves the development of a former Health Centre on the Plough and Harrow Road as the main site for delivery of Sure Start services. Services include: extra health visiting; extended community creche provision; a family therapy; running stop smoking activities; ante-natal parenting groups and offering parents training on child health and safety.


Includes: provision of extra health visiting services; provision of ante-natal care services; extended community creche provision; a family therapy; loan and fitting of home safety equipment and training programme to support parents on child health and safety.


Brierley Hill Sure Start Capital Programme extension of the Local Action Centre and the new purpose-built family centre as the main site for delivery of Sure Start services. Services include: extra health visiting services; provide local support on teenage pregnancy and prevention; extended community creche provision; a family

therapy; running stop smoking activities; ante-natal parenting groups and 'music tots' sessions.


Based in Seaton Grange, Owton and Rossmere. Services include: outreach and health visiting involving nine core visits by health visitors, nursery nurses and members of the Sure Start team; speech therapy, audiology and midwifery support and parents will be trained as volunteers to assist families. Will receive up to£2.26m

until March 2003.


Based in southern part of Sefton. Awarded£2.4m until March 2003. Area includes 794 children under four. Services include: a network of 'one-stop' parenting centres providing community cafes; creches with soft play areas; more and better quality childcare; and two new outdoor play areas. Will provide multi-agency training and awareness-raising for people working in the programme on key issues such as behavioural problems to help improve the quality of services for parents and children.


Based in Birchwood and led by a consortium of charities. Awarded£2.09m until March 2003 including£0.5m for a new multi-purpose Sure Start centre. Services include: the 'Smile for Life' programme to promote better oral health and nutrition; a mobile play park; extended hours flexible childcare provision, drop-in GP sessions on the estate to; speech and language therapist.

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