This page serves to document all our archived news articles for 2002. Please note all content and images are ©Five Children and Families Trust.

On Saturday 14th December hundreds of children and families came to the old library building in Speke to met Father Christmas and his helpers in the Magical Grotto. Although the building had been stripped of furniture and fittings the Christmas decorations, festive refreshments, crazy costumes of the Sure Start team all helped to create a festive atmosphere.

Father Christmas asked the children what presents they wanted and patiently posed for lots of photographs. Lots of children were also keen to climb into a giant sledge to have their picture taken with Mother Christmas and the snow people.

All the children who attended received selection boxes and had the opportunity to play on lots of exciting PSS Toy Library Equipment which had been specially set up for the day.

This event was the last opportunity for residents to see the interior of the building in its present state before the builders start work on transforming the site into a ‘state of the art" Family Centre. Plans and artists impressions were on display so that parents could see how many of their ideas and views had been incorporated into the architect's plans for this important new facility.

The Centre will house a 21 place nursery, internet cafe, family rooms and toy library as well as offices, training, consultation and meeting rooms. It is expected that an extension to be built at the rear of the existing building will provide new accommodation for Speke Advice Service, SMART and the SMART Kid's Club.

Let's hope everything goes well so that we can celebrate next Christmas with a Grotto in our new community building.

There was a Big Toy Day with a Christmas party at St Aidans Church Hall on Wednesday 11th December. The party idea came from the parents who all contributed to the food.

It was a great day with 15 children, 13 parents and carers. Mandy's storytime went down well especially with Lucy age 2 as you can see in the first picture above.

The children all had a little dance to the Christmas songs and parents were really getting in the festive spirit. Liam aged 2 and pictured above enjoyed playing with the jellies before eating most of them.

The children all went home exhausted and so did their parents.

The Dick Whittington Pantomime was attended by 200 children, parents and carers. St Christophers Junior school was host for the evening and pupils were a great help in preparing the hall with chairs they carried from the infants school.

It was a great night enjoyed by all and most of the children left with no voices after the usual shouts of "he's behind you".

However the children did leave with free magic stars chocolate which was scattered amongst them by the cast.

The Heathy Eating project workers Carol and Carl are at the young Parents drop in for 6 weeks. The first week parents got to sample a wide variety of healthy breakfasts including sardines on wholemeal bread, muesli with fresh fruit and yoghurt.

This week (18 Nov) they made chicken fajitas which went down a real treat.

Here is Nina, mother of two, having a go of stir-frying. The parents are given the recipes to take home and most said they would definitely try them out.


There was another trip out to Burton Manor this month. 6 mums from the PSP project based at Middlefield school attended accompanied by Karen Brown project Co-Ordinator. The day is just one big relaxation and the mums did not want to go home.

This time the weather stopped the mum's from viewing the beautiful grounds which surrounds the old Manor House. The new Co-Ordinator Lucy-Ann from the Quiet Place facilitated the day and she did some great relaxation tips with them. Heres what they all had to say.

Sisters Julie and Claire said: "We've had a lovely time at Burton Manor. The course was well organised and Lucy Ann was delightful and pleasant throughout the day.

Cheryl said: "It was good day - I learnt how to relax and everyone was very nice and I would like to go back again."

Rebecca said: "I had a really nice time. Lucy Ann was great and she taught us how to relax and how to give proper massages. I'd definitely go back."

Beverly said: " It was a very enjoyable day - with having 2 children I find it hard to find time to relax properly. The early years pack I received will come in useful at home".

Elaine said: "I've had a lovely time at Burton Manor. Lucy-Ann was fantastic and I'd love to go back again."

Karen Brown said: "Today was an escape from all the stress and worry of everday life. One complaint - it passed too quickly! Thanks Sure Start for a brilliant day".

So as you can see Burton Manor is an opportunity not to be missed. If you are interested in chilling out for the day contact Ann-Marie at the Sure Start office to book a place.

On Thursday 24th of October over 130 families joined Sure Start staff and representatives of local organisations to celebrate two years of working together in Speke.

The event was held in our brand new Youth and Community Centre located on the Parklands site.

For many families this was an opportunity to visit the new buildings which have transformed the local landscape and provide bright new facilities for the community.


17 parents and staff including Parklands Nursery, attended Relaxation Day at Burton Manor. The day started with a session on Early Years with some great tips for parents.

Everyone received a free parents pack with information and relaxation CD for parents and children. The parents enjoyed exploring the beautiful gardens surrounding the college.

After lunch it was great to lie down and take some great tips from Penny Moon the Co-ordinator of the Quiet Place on how to relax. The parents felt totally relaxed after are eager to return.

There will be one trip a month so anyone interested in joining in can call the Sure Start office and book a place.


A number of dads attended the launch of Sure Start's Dad's Day with their children at Spayce Playce on the 7th of September and really enjoyed themselves. One of the dads who attended had never even heard of the indoor play area and was really impressed.

Husan said: "I will definitely be returning with the children in the near future". We are hoping to see more dad's at next month's event, giving staff a chance to find out if there are any more activities we can provide for them.

The Dads project will take place every 1st Saturday of the month at Space Playce (St Ambrose Parish Centre) from 12.30 - 1.30pm. Dads, father figures or grandads can bring their children or the children they care for and siblings (within the height restriction). There will be free entry to the Space Playce and refreshments will be served.

Please note: mums are also perfectly welcome.

For further information contact Ann-Marie on 0151-486 9719.

Sunday the 14th July finally saw the arrival of summer with Speke Hall providing the ideal backdrop for the Jubilee Festival. Many attended and the specially provided buses chauffeuring people back and forth were kept busy all day.

The day was enjoyed by all ages and as usual, the Sure Start team were on hand to cater for the needs of the younger age group. The familiar face painting activity was as popular as ever and many royal crowns were created from the selection of glitter and cotton wool together with a variety of lovingly-drawn badges.

Entertainment was provided by the puppet show and "Wavy Davy" and full range of big play equipment kept the little ones happy.

The whole event was a great success and brought together many families of different ages who shared in the celebration. Many thanks to all those who worked so hard to make the day such a success.

The visit to Greenacre Farm was enjoyed by the 27 children and 33 parents/carers including 4 Dads who attended. The children who attended were given free bright yellow Sure Start ponchos which came in very handy for the showers in between sunny spells.

The children's faces were full of joy as they walked around the farm, looking at the animals. Everyone enjoyed the tractor ride and joined in the nursery rhymes which were blasted out through a speaker as we drove around the farm looking at the larger animals.

Next on the agenda was a magic show were everyone sat down to lunch, some of the children volunteered to be the magician's assistant. The most enjoyable part of the day had to be feeding the animals, as you can see by the pictures.

There was a play area for the children to run about in and small funfair which some of the children used. Everyone was back on the bus by 2.00pm to ensure that parents/carers were back in time to make school pick ups for older children. The children were exhausted and most of them fell asleep on their way home.

The Teddy Bears picnic turned out to be a great day. 34 children, parents and carers attended including Smart Nursery. Transport to Speke Hall was provided and waterproof ponchos for children, parents and carers.The children also recieved free Sure Start lunch boxes for the picnic.

The rain stayed away and the children completed the "Barnados Big Toddle". How much we raised is still to be counted as we are still waiting for the return of some sponsorship forms.

There was a storytime and parachute games for the children. Most of all the children thoroughly enjoyed the free space to run around Speke Hall grounds and are all keen to return with the rest of their families.

Sure Start Speke held a Mini Commonwealth Games at New Heys Community Comprehensive School on Wed 12th June 9.30- 11.30am.

The event was part of the Speke/ Garston Community Games that the JET South Liverpool and New Heys School had organised involving 11 Junior Schools, year 6 children from the local area, held on the same day in the afternoon, this was to celebrate this years XVII Commonwealth Games that begin in Manchester on 25th July.

Sure Start Speke, Speke/Garston Partnership, SLH, Speke/Garston EAZ, and South Liverpool Partnership funded the event. Sure Start Speke got involved and organised a Mini Commonwealth Games for Nursery children from Speke and Garston.

Over 200 children attended the event on a lovely sunny morning with their nursery staff and parents cheering them on from 12 schools and social services nurseries. Each nursery that took part received £50 towards a piece of play equipment.

The event was a big success, each nursery represented a country from the Commonwealth and all made a flag of the country, which were very decorative. The nurseries took part a parade to open the event, waving the brightly flags that contained messages of things they like about Liverpool.

All the children thoroughly enjoyed the event and they took part in fun games including a Sack hop, Musical Statues, Bean bag run and Parachute games and were cheered on by some very enthusiastic parents and staff!

The games ended with an awards ceremony with every child receiving a Sure Start medal, for taking part in the Mini Commonwealth Games. All the children were very happy to get the medal and proudly displayed them to parents and staff.

Sure Start Speke hope to make this an annual event and with your continued support and would like to thank all the Nurseries who took part in the event, all the parents who came along and especially, the children who all went home as Mini Commonwealth Champions!!!

SMART's aim is to help regenerate the areas of South Liverpool and one of its projects is childcare.

We run two Out of School Kids Clubs for children aged 4 to 11 years, of parents who are working or training.

Parents can drop their children off at the clubs before school and the staff will take them to school and collect them afterwards until their parents/ carers can collect them after work/training.

In the school holidays the clubs are open all day. During their time in the club the children will take part in art and craft activities, team games, singing, days out and much more. We also run sessional playgroups for children aged 2 to 5 years. This service offers three sessions per week of quality play where parents can leave their children for a couple of hours.

For further information call our All Saints Church Hall Playgroup (Speke Church Road) on (0151) 486 8605 or our Garston CofE School Playgroup (Holman Road) on (0151) 494 1011.

We have now moved into our brand new nursery, Parklands, situated on Conleach Road, Speke next to the new school. There are places for 30 children aged 0 to 5 years of working or training parents. All our childcare facilities are fully registered with Ofsted and staff are experienced and fully qualified. We are currently undergoing quality assurance schemes for all our childcare facilities to ensure they are of the highest quality.

For more details call into SMART's main office at 17 South Parade, Speke, or call (0151) 486 0815.

Wednesday 8th May dawned warm, but a little overcast, however there was nothing dull about the groups who were gathering to take part in Sure Start's trip to Gulliver's World. Almost 280 parents, grandparents and children made their way to one of the three pre-arranged pick-up points as 9.30 brought a mass exodus from Speke.

Once all were safely aboard (despite those of us at the Crescent pick-up who were almost left behind!) the 6 double-decker buses set off in convoy.

A speedy entry into the park started a very busy and exciting day, with lots of children giving emotional support to those parents who were just too scared to go on some of the rides! Everywhere you looked on the day there were familiar faces and many calls of 'chicken' to those who were not daring enough attempt certain rides.

At the end of the day, tired and happy Speke families piled onto the buses for the journey home. Many expressed thanks for the trip and asked when the next one will be. I think we all need some time to recover first though!!!

The start of the year so far has been an eventful one for the team starting as it did with a move from the two offices we were using in JET and STEC to a relocation at St Ambrose Parish House in Heathgate Avenue.

Whilst waiting for the decorating to be finished, we managed to cram all eight of us plus most of the office equipment into one of Father Ed's downstairs rooms. This, as you can imagine, helped to build a really good team spirit.

We sat around the cramped tables and took turns to use the narrow pathway in and out of the room. Still, we eventually moved into our newly decorated rooms and at last we could think about getting back to normal, (which we will do when we eventually get our own telephone line installed!).

So, please be patient if you're trying to get in touch with us, we are still here.

The Sure Start Feel Good day that took place on Friday 4th Jan 2002 at the David Lloyd Centre was a great success. Despite the cold and icy day almost fifty young girls from Speke and their workers arrived to take part in the activities arranged.

The day began with a pre-ordered lunch, which was welcomed by all on such a cold day. Everyone joined in the workshops and enjoyed making use of the facilities including tennis, swimming and gym equipment and had a great time.

By far the most popular activity was the hair and beauty treatment, including hair cutting and styling, eyebrow reshaping, eyelash extensions and makeup, which kept Carol and Ann Marie extremely busy all day. The two sessions of relaxation and aromatherapy provided the opportunity to chill out and enjoy a little stress relief following the hectic Christmas and New Year period, while the aerobics sessions allowed those who were more energetic the chance to work off a little excess energy.

The children who spent time in the creche enjoyed the attention of the staff there and were well looked after. They made the occasional appearance at the workshops to a great deal of fussing and pampering and were probably glad to go back to the peace and quiet of the creche.

The good food and pampering opportunities added up to a really enjoyable day and following this success, it is hoped that we can repeat the exercise again later in the year and judging by the comments on the day we may well end up with a waiting list for the next event.

A form asking for some feedback comments on the format of the day will be given to all who attended and these will then be taken into account when planning the next Feel Good day.

So if you feel you missed a great opportunity to relax and enjoy a bit of pampering and you think that you would like to be included in the next event, watch this space!