Persephone: Parent

A fine site

Sure Start Centres

on June 30, 2013

The centres are open to all parents, carers and children and many of the services are free. You can get help and advice on child and family health, parenting, money, training and employment.


There are 16 in my local area. But these may be cut to 9. I’ve only visited 2 – one about 30 minute walk away and another 20 carrying Elvis – and I think it would be a shame to lose 5 of them. However, looking at the timetables for the 5 local ones, there are huge gaps in their timetable. If 5 out of 16 closed could they put on more things at the remaining 9?

Of course that won’t benefit those that have to travel further. Neither of the 2 I’ve visited have any real car parking availability and most visiting mothers will go by foot. Then there’s the pram lock up shed. At the 2 I’ve visited, all pushchairs/prams/buggies have to be locked up outside. So there are limited spaces per session – why I use my baby carrier and spare changing bag to take Elvis.

Centre A definitely lends locks to tie up your pram, but with a newborn it doesn’t really help. And there was only really space for 4. None of this was told to me before I went to get Elvis weighed and had to leave my pushchair locked up like a bike and visible from the street.

Whilst I carried Elvis to Centre B, I still saw their lock up. It had far more space but pushchairs had to go in along 2 rows so the first there were the last to leave. Another good reason for a baby carrier!

I’ve been to 2 groups at centre A (baby drop in and breastfeeding support) and one at B (baby drop in). A is much nicer inside, larger and has more facilities, including a separate sensory room that can be booked for free. Both of them have a lot of their groups, especially the baby ones, starting at 9 or half 9. Depends on individual babies as to how easy it is to get to these – sometimes Elvis is wide awake from 5, sometimes he goes back to sleep until 8 or 9. I’d guess that if it comes down to a choice between A and B, A will be the one kept open, but I found the people at B far friendlier.

Both baby drop ins were good, at B more so, and I’ll be at B again soon for a baby massage session. And when Elvis gets to maybe another month old we’ll make them far more regularly. If centre B is still open then!

~ Persephone M

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