WHAT IS SURE START• “By the time children go to school some of the most important things that ever happen to them are already in the past.” (Isaacs 1929)• Sure Start Children‟s Centres have a major role to play in helping all families to provide their children with the love, care and stimulation they need to play, learn, be healthy and happy and have the best possible start in life• First „Trailblazer‟ centres began in 1998 and there are now more than 3,600 centres in England Core Purpose – NOT JUST NURSERIES!• Child development and school readiness• Parenting aspirations, self esteem and parenting skills• Child and family health and life chances West Northumberland• Northumberland has 20 Sure Start Children‟s Centres• West has 5 centres, 13 outreach bases and 3 play vans• It covers 975 square miles – very rural• Unusual partners!
ALBEMARLE BARRACKS• 39 Regiment Royal Artillery – Welsh Gunners• There are 76 married quarters on site, 90 off site in 3 clusters. Approx 20 – 30 under 5 year olds• Isolated – situation of Barracks – 6 miles from nearest Sure Start Children‟s Centre• Deployed to Afghanistan
HOW IT ALL BEGAN• Issues identified by a number of partners• Steering group formed led by Prudhoe SSCC, in close partnership with the Unit Welfare Team and Primary Care Trust• Prior to project, no dedicated space for children with very young families• Rare example of a Sure Start Children‟s Centre outreach post being established on a military base, now called the MINI MESS• Some nurseries exist on bases but not a range of parenting and family support services.
WHAT WE DO• Weekly Stay and Play• Produce a „What‟s On‟ leaflet so families feel valued and included in delivery• Teddy Bears Picnic – with Stamfordham First School• Delivery of wiggly jiggles – music and dance• Fakeaways cookery – healthy cooking• Display Board as you enter the Welfare Unit advertising the Mini Mess• Display Board advertising Children‟s Centre events• Action plan developed in conjunction with all partners and families• Crèche funding on a Friday morning for respite and shopping trips!
WHAT WE DO (CONT.)Crisis Intervention• Family support to all child protection families, work directed by an Early Intervention Panel• Evidence based parenting courses, „Triple P‟, Save a Baby‟s Life• Referral to specialist services e.g. domestic violence support group, speech and language therapy.• Driving lessons for parent left on the base.• Family support (case study)
Sure Start Children’s Centre –Albemarle Barracks Action Plan 2012/13‘Working together to improve outcomes for children under 5 and their families’
CHALLENGES AND RISKS• Services are not always viable• Meeting the needs of socially and physically isolated groups• Leadership and resources are needed to get the project off the ground• Managing the risks associated with partnership working• Cultures, contracts and service level agreements (SLA)• Delivery based on relationships
SUCCESSES• Clearly defined goal and shared vision – can do, positive attitude• Understanding of the organisations culture• Issues being recognised early and partners being set up to respond quickly – early intervention• Mini Mess is a thriving facility – highly valued and heavilly used (86 attendees over a 4 month period). It provides a focus on camp and helps form a socially cohesive community• Resourcefulness of the military has been a positive contributory factor• Space for baby clinic, increased provision by statutory health services• Close links to unit welfare provide real early intervention to prevent situations escalating. 10 families have received intensive support over the last year.• Word is getting out! – referrals from other army bases when families are moved.
MA Leadership & Management in Integrated Children’s ServicesDissertation : A Systematic Appraisal of Published Research. Distinction September 2011.Summary of themes and impact on real services.Abstract• “We have found overwhelming evidence that children‟s life chances are most heavily predicted on their development in the first few years of life…” (Field 2010 p5)• “The political situation at the moment means that more soldiers are being sent to war and for longer periods of time and there does not appear to have been any research about how this might impact on subsequent family life.” (Williamson and Price, 2009 p3)Conclusions• More UK research to target services appropriately. Use of grey literature, primary documents.• User involvement increased/informed content sought – increased sample sizes• More research to examine the positive effects of being a military child – resilience.
WHAT NEXT?• Involvement in decompression days• More work with fathers – attachment• Sharing of experiences with other military bases• „My Passport‟ into local schools• Funding challenges – self sufficiency – sustainability• New Major – new relationship• Redeployment of Barracks