This page serves to document all our archived news articles for 2004. Please note all content and images are ©Five Children and Families Trust.

Anthony Evans has been recruited as a headchef to work alongside the Sure Start Speke team in developing a community café with a bistro feel.

He is charged with building up the service and will also be putting together buffet menus for local organisations and lunches for our nursery. We are also hoping to develop training opportunities for local residents.

The café is not for profit and any surpluses will go back into the local community so when you join us to eat you are also supporting your local children centres.

Anthony is a skilled and versatile chef and has put together a healthy, high quality menu at extremely affordable prices in a short time.

Tots Café Christmas Dinner The Children and families at the Tots Café got in the festive spirit down at the Spayce Playce. The turkey dinner was delicious with sticky toffee pudding, mince pies and tangerines for dessert.

After the children ate, they all joined in party games of musical chairs and pass the parcel. Afterwards, the children all received selection boxes and went home tired and happy.

Sure Start Speke Grotto It was the annual Grotto at the Sure Start Family Centre. Over 150 children and their families attended a great day were the nursery was turned into Santa's Grotto. The staff were dressed in Victorian costumes with a few cuddly characters and an elf hanging around.

The parent's commented on how great the grotto looked. One mum said: "It's great that Sure Start take the time and effort to create such a fantastic display for the children of Speke. I look forward to bringing my kids here every year."

Eighteen months ago as I was approaching 40, I decided to do a Charity Challenge for Diabetes UK - to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa (5,850m). I chose this charity because my 9 year son, Liam has been Diabetic since he was 3 and the money raised was for much needed research into the condition.

This was the beginning of a lot of hard work fundraising and training in order to be fit enough to reach the summit of this very big mountain.

On 29th September this year feeling very fit and having raised over £7,600 I finally flew to Africa to attempt the challenge of a lifetime.

The trip was 12 days and it took 8 days to reach the summit. We trekked for 7-8 hours each day and camped each night gradually getting higher. We had a team of 50 porters to carry the supplies up and some very experienced local guides. At 2,800m the effects of altitude started to kick in plus it was getting a lot colder.

The summit was attempted at night with 6 layers of clothes on in temperatures of -25 and a snow blizzard. But we all made it thanks to the wonderful guides we had to keep us going.

The whole trip was amazing and the determination and stamina it took to make it to the top of Kilimanjaro was well worth it. I met some great people and Tanzania is a beautiful country - I hope to return one day.

Kenny Dickson, one of our Sure Start Speke Dads, has won the South Liverpool Housing Community Volunteer of the Year award.

Kenny won the award because he gives a great deal of his time volunteering for Sure Start Speke, the school his two sons attend as well as a number of other projects within the Speke area.

Kenny received a cheque for £250.00 and glass-engraved plaque. Unfortunately Kenny couldn't make the meal and ceremony due to unforseen family circumstances; however Susan Roberts was there on the evening to receive his award on his behalf and Kenny came down to the Sure Start Office for his own personal prize-giving. Kenny said "I just can't believe I've won - I really wasn't expecting to."

Kenny's hard work has paid of and Sure Start would like to say a big thank you for all his hard work.

Well done Kenny!

Baby Barrow is a new project offering massive savings on all of the things your baby or child under five will need. From prams to pushchairs and from cots to toys, everything is brand new and of the highest quality and 'Kite Marked' for baby's safety and your peace of mind.

Baby Barrow is supported by Riverside Credit Union, NHS, Octagon and Primary Car Group. In other words it is a non-profit making organisation where people like you can benefit from low prices with the added benefit of being able to make small regular savings to pay for the things you need. You don't even have to be a member of the credit union to take advantage of the Baby's Barrow's low prices.

Did you Know...
To bring your baby home from hospital you will need to have a child seat. This is a standard requirement even if you bring the baby home by taxi. Baby seats aren't cheap which is why Baby Barrow is now offering them for hire. This is how it works. We supply you with a safety car-seat and you pay £67, of which £57 is a refundable deposit.

Everything you need at discounted prices!
Baby Barrow helps you pay for everything you need for your baby and under-5's including:

For more information contact Tina, Mandy or Carole on: 0151-448 0565.

Babies Can The latest 'Babies Can'' programme started in the Sure Start Family centre in November. This is a six-week programme looking at the development of young babies listening and learning skills including:

How many times have you bought expensive toys for your child only to find that the prefer to play with the empty box that it came in?

At 'Babies Can' we also look at how you can use everyday objects from around the house to safely entertain your child.

Baby Yoga After completing an intensive training course in Dublin, Mandy Murphy has put together a baby yoga training programme especially for our Sure Start parents/carers and babies.

This is a six week programme, held at the Sure Start Family Centre every Friday from 10.00 - 11.30am.

The aim of the 'Baby Yoga' sessions is to promote the nurturing touch through mutual bonding between the parent and her baby.

There are many benefits to 'Baby Yoga':

For parents and babies, from newborn onwards, this is an enjoyable way to develop a childs strength and flexibility and a great way to make new friends.

For more information contact Mandy Murphy on 0151-486 9719

The Friday Play & Stay group has started again at the new Sure Start Family Centre.

Children and parents are using the play area and the ante-natal waiting room to take part in the play activities. The price is 50p per family and the children receive toast and juice.

The Play & Stay sessions will be running during term time only and all families living in the Speke area, with children under 5, are welcome to join us.


Sure Start Speke: Family Centre Opening Sure Start Speke Family Centre was officially launched Friday 22nd Oct 2004 by the local MP Maria Eagle.

The day was a great success with a very high attendance from partner agencies who were all most impressed, not only by the building but also the energy and enthusiasm that sums up Sure Start Speke.

Our guest speakers included Stuart Smith, Assistant Director for Education and Chair of the Liverpool Sure Start Strategic Group, Rosie Cooper, Chair of the Liverpool Women's Hospital Trust and Mike Scott, District manager for Jobcentre Plus and of course Maria.

The tone was really upbeat and it feels like there is a real will from partners to make sure that joint working becomes a reality in our centre.

Maria Eagle particularly liked a reference made to Sure Start Speke as "the little organisation with big boots". Sure Start nationally has been like a quiet revolution within early year's services and I like to think that as a local programme we have made some quite significant changes over the few years we have been operational. That's no small achievement given that we have built up a staff team, worked with both statutory and voluntary sector partners to develop new and innovative projects and created an excellent facility for families in Speke. Those boots certainly got stamped on more than one occasion to make sure that it all happened, but more importantly that families had a say in how it happened.

It's worth noting that since the centre opened we have created 25 new jobs and given employment to 16 Speke residents, our thanks go to Jet South Liverpool for working with us to make sure that local people were able to access those jobs.

Beverly Prescott our chair and most longstanding board member gave the vote of thanks on the day and did it most eloquently and I would like to publicly thank her for her ongoing contribution; she is a committed and dedicated parent.

SMART one of our partners and tenants also invited Pat McNulty to open the Tom McNulty Kids Club on behalf of her late husband and their former chair. Tom was, during his time as chair, committed to creating community childcare. I'm sure his family is really proud to have the Kids Club as a memorial and testament to his commitment.

The following day the doors opened for the community so that they could have a good look around the centre. For those that visited us, I'm sure they were impressed and surprised at how much space we have created in the "old library" The children had great fun and played happily in the nursery area after weather forced us to abandon our plans for a play tent.

A group of parents and children also visited us from Sure Start Deighton and East Fartown in Huddersfield. They are in the process of developing their building and were quite inspired by some of the design features. Both adults and children in their party stayed with us for the full day and had a wonderful time. We wish them well for the future and look forward to a return visit when they open their own centre.

Although Carol and Carl, the community food workers, provided us with delicious fresh fruit salad, and we thank them for their ongoing work with the programme, it was a little disappointing that our newly appointed chef couldn't start in time for the opening.

Never mind I can feel another launch event coming on for our café!

Seriously if you couldn't make it to our open day there'll be another chance to see the centre in December when we host our 4th Sure Start Grotto on Saturday 11th December.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Susan Roberts
Director, Sure Start Speke
October 2004

Local parents were involved with the interviewing of the Sure Start Chef. The parents spent the whole of Friday 8th October tasting the wonderful food that the four candidates prepared. It was a hard task deciding who was the most suitable as all the food was delicious.

After getting together, the parents and interviewers came to the decision that Tony Evans would be offered the job as his dish of salmon, rice and vegetables for the adult meal and chicken goujons with pumpkin mash for the childrens dish was a great choice on the £10.00 budget they were working to. The two meals were extremely well presented and Sure Start feel very lucky that Tony will be joining the team. Tony has small children himself and is looking forward to providing healthy nutritious food for the families of Speke.

There is an exciting new venue for the Tots Café now at the Space Playce which currently takes place on Wednesdays but, following the school half-term, will change to Mondays 12-1pm. Along with the tasty menu the children have the opportunity to play in the fun soft play centre which includes slides, ball pools and much more.

The theme days still continue with a spooky menu planned for Halloween and prices are still just £2 for 1 adult and 1 child.

After lunch activities continue with the Stay and Play group 1-2.30pm, providing fun learning and play activities for young hands and minds that parents can also join in with. Refreshments are provided and costs 50p per child.

Come along and enjoy the great food and play area in the unique child-friendly café that kids and parents love.

Sure Start Speke recently ran its first 'Incredible Years Programme' for parents.

Recognising that parenting is one of the hardest challenges any one of us faces, without any training, we have looked into a number of programmes and were extremely impressed with the 'Incredible Years' developed by Caroline Webster Stratton who is a child psychologist.

We felt that the programme was very practical and commonsense and more importantly based on years of detailed research that proves it works. The programme works on the principle that all children want attention; they will test their boundaries to get your attention even if that means misbehaving. It's a 10-12 week course and covers play, praise, effective limit setting and appropriate consequences.

If that sounds a bit intense, don't worry because we also had a great laugh throughout the 10 weeks we were together and parents built up really good support networks. Here's what the parents said:

Why not join us for the next course so that you can:

Call us to check availability and let us know if you have any children that require the crèche.

A Baby Massage training course was recently held at the Family Centre by the well known Baby Massage expert Peter Walker.

The Parent Mentors team, a Health Visitor, Nursery Nurses, the Sure Start Plus Worker, 2 parents and the Family Involvement Worker all took part in the training which had great feedback. The Parent Mentors will be using the techniques they learned in the homes of the families they support.

Peter gave plenty of tips in how to encourage parents to relax, encouraging them to further develop their bond and touch with their children. The baby massage training is an excellent tool to help children develop physically and mentally. It helps children stay healthy by boosting their immune system and also keeps their joints supple.

In the near future there will be Baby Massage sessions held at Stocktonwood and Middlefield parent centres.

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

Sure Start Speke in partnership with South Liverpool Primary Care Trust are currently taking part in a one year Parent Mentor Employment Project working with families in the Speke area.

Full training is given to everyone attending the project, with the opportunity to gain an NVQ Level 3 childcare qualification at the end of the one year employment contract.

What does a Parent Mentor do?

For further information, please contact Jackie Fryer on 0151-486 9719

Sure Start is starting a new Baby Yoga training programme for parents and babies between 2 - 4 months old. This is a great way to develop a child's strength and flexibility, it will also aid sleep and improve digestion - it's also provides an ideal opportunity for parents to make new friends.

The course is due to starting 8th October, every Friday morning from 10.00 till 11.30am at the Sure Start Family Centre.

For more information and to reserve a place on the course contact Mandy or call 0151-486 9719.

Sure Start Speke Neighbourhood Nursery has been developed in partnership with parents to provide flexible, high quality childcare.

Local parents decided on a wish list of features that they wanted in their Centre after visiting childcare provision in other communities.

When we combined these ideas with our experience of current best practice it was clear that our building would have to be special for both children and their families.

From the outdoor curving pathways to the cafe and indoor play area we have tried to make the Centre welcoming to both children and adults. We hope you agree that it is!

The Parent Net have been running weekly play sessions at St Ambrose school every Wednesday through out August. Local parents Jenny, Lee-Anne, Michelle, Shelly and Clare have worked hard organising and planning activities.

Activities have included drum workshops, games, arts and crafts. They held a sports day and 25th August they took their playgroup to Greenacre Farm.



The trip to Greenacre Farm went down a treat with the families. The day was organised by parents and was a great success. A full double-decker left Speke early in the day leaving the bad weather behind. The weather stayed dry and the sun did its best to shine.

The children were treated fun-packed day with a tractor ride that had them all amused with the pig race and the horses who tried to ride with us on the tractor. There was an animal petting-corner where the children got the chance to hold little chicks, guinea pigs, puppies and kittens.

There were so many animals to see and the facilities on the farm are great with a playground and small fun rides at a very low cost.

The children had a thoroughly enjoyable and educational day and some of the parents said they were thinking of returning with their families to the camp site on the farm.

The Sure Start team were on hand to support the Family Learning Day which was held at Parklands in Conleach Road. The activities were based around discovery themes.

The children made real wormeries which they were then allowed to take home. They also designed and made miniature gardens, caterpillar sandwiches and butterfly cookies.



The Parent Mentor project will be starting in September. There will be 9 Parent Mentors starting training after recent interviews have taken place. The Parent Mentors are all local parents and will work along side the Health Visitors and the Sure start team.

They will be supporting families who are expecting very young children and will gain a qualification along the way. The post will be a fixed term contract for one year and we are hoping for the project to continue to run in the future.

The final session of Sure Start's "Water Rhyme" got off to a swimming start on Monday 12th July. This activity has grown in popularity over the months and resulted in many more "Water Babies" in the area, given the British weather that's just as well.

The party to celebrate the end of the sessions went with a splash. The theme was Nemo and the games and singing were followed by fishy shaped food, snacks and a Nemo goody bag to take home. A Titanic time was had by all!!

Many positive comments about the best part of the sessions have been made by those taking part and include "Seeing my daughter overcome her fear of the baths, her confidence has grown each week", "Encouraging my son to go into the water as he is very unsure of the water" and "Learning and singing rhymes and songs with my child".

Along with the confidence the activity brings is the added bonus of babies who sleep more, all that exercise and socialising is a tiring business and is usually followed by a good snooze! And that may not be just the babies.

So if you feel you would like to take part in the next sessions due to start in September get your name down now by contacting Mandy at the new Sure Start Family Centre (0151-486 9719) and join in the fun. Let's see if we can produce the next Sharon Davies or Duncan Goodhew from right here in Speke. Book your tickets for the 2020 Olympics now!!

Speke Carnival turned out to be a brilliant fun-packed day even though the weather was absolutely dreadful.

Maria Eagle was there to officially start the event and Charlie Hunt, the Contract Manager from Bardsleys, who are responsible for the building renovations, handed over the keys for Sure Start's new Family Centre.

Maria joined in with the local community in the carnival parade. The costumes looked amazing as you can see by the picture below of Courtney in her carnival back pack.

The costume was made by parents during a workshop held in one of the local schools, Angie Davis one of the parents involved took the costume home and worked very hard to finish it off in time for the festival. The end result was fantastic. Well done Angie!

The bad weather contingency plan took the carnival inside Austin Rawlinson Sports centre, who were great and took the hundreds of people invading their Sports Hall completely in their stride.

The local majorettes and Morris dancing troupes performed their dance routines to an enthralled audience. There were plenty of agency stalls giving freebies away and a wide variety of activities for the children to take part in.

Outside there were free fairground rides and an ice rink - the picture below appears like it was taken in the middle of Winter! Lauren and her friends look like they had a few problems staying on their feet. Even though it was cold outside the children all said they had a fantastic time.

In the City Learning Centre we were entertained by some fabulous acts form Parklands High School, who would have given Top of the Pops a run for their money. Other fantastic acts were from St Aidans youth group and AIR Stars in your eyes.

Jeanette, a local parent, said "its been a fantastic day there has been so much for the kids to do and the weather didn't put people off as the turn out has been great".

The Speke Garston Childminding Network is an accredited network, having been inspected by National Childminding Association (NCMA) and has 16 members, all registered with Ofsted, they offer full/part time care and before and after school.

All are registered for up to 6 children each aged from 0 - 8 years. They have all undertaken a range of training courses and several hold a NNEB certificate and several have an NVQ Level 3 Childcare, all have undertaken other accredited courses.

The group have weekly use of a drop in facility based in the Family Centre in the Hilda Mason Nursery in Banks Road in Garston, and the childminders living in Speke will be able to use the facilities in the Family centre in Speke when it opens in July this year. The group have monthly evening meetings at Community House in Garston, this offers peer support and an opportunity to exchange information.

The network operate a vacancy system, and Julia Hendrick is vacancy co-ordinator. They also have their own toy library offering a wide range of toys and resources.

The event we held this week was to celebrate National Childminding week 19th - 26th June. We decided to use this opportunity to plan an event that could also help raise money for Childline. We started the day with a picnic in the field at the front of Speke Hall. This was followed by a sponsored trike ride/pram push, each child was sponsored by their family/friends.

Thanks to everyone for supporting us and if you would like further information regarding the 'Childminders Network' in the Speke Garston area please contact .

As part of the ongoing development of the Sure Start Toy Project, a mini Toy Library will be set up in local Speke nurseries.

The aim of the Toy Library is to ensure all under 4s have access to a variety of quality educational play equipment and resources which will provide a wide range of learning experiences and opportunities.

The toys and equipment have been made into themed boxes:

Each term the boxes will be rotated between all the nursery schools in the area so your child will be able to choose activities that cover all areas of the Early Years Curriculum.

Many of the toys have a recommended age attached to them; this is only a guide so take into account the child's stage of development and ability when choosing a toy.

For more information or advice please contact Irene Ennis at the Sure Start office on 0151-486 9719.

The latest Sure Start trip to Camelot turned out to be a nice treat for local dads and carers. The reason for trip was to celebrate Fathers Day. A double-decker left Speke for a great day out and for once the weather stayed warm and dry.

Feedback from the dads was very positive. Ian said: "I have experienced one of the worst times in my life over the past year - I am a single dad now and this day has been the most relaxing day I have had for a long time. To see the smile on my kids faces is a joy. The staff are very professional and went out of their way to make it enjoyable for me. I can't wait for the next trip."

Construction and refurbishment work on the new Sure Start Speke Family Centre is now well underway, and we are hoping to move into our new building sometime in July 2004. It is a very exciting time for everyone connected with Sure Start as this facility will provide state-of-the-art amenities to the children and families of Speke.

As well as Sure Start, there will be other familiar faces setting up a new home within the centre, as SMART, Speke Advice Services and Speke Health Visitors join us to provide a 'one stop' service location for local families.

The children's play area, or 'POD' as it's better known, has a new revolutionary design (although it looks a bit strange in it's current stage as you can see by the photograph), and the 'Internet Cafe' will offer a tasty bite and well as internet access and access to some of the new online services that we hope to offer, for example the new Sure Start 'Swap Shop'.

The official opening of the Family Centre is scheduled for 19th Sept 2004, and we hope that everyone will come and join us in celebrating the launch.

The Sure Start team are all very proud of Mandy who successfully completed the 'Women's 10K' on Sunday 16th May. She breezed home gallantly displaying her t-shirt advertising Diabetes UK and the forthcoming trek up Kilimanjaro due to be undertaken by Sure Start's Speech and Language Therapist, Chris McRoe.

Mandy has raised £120 for the fund and is polishing her trainers and raring to go for the next race.

Well done Mandy!!


Mandy and Irene held their first 'Splash & Rhyme' session at the new swimming pool in Parklands. Children and parents had a great time bobbing about in the water.

This type of activity is not only a great way for parents and children to exercise together but it also encourages bonding increases your childs confidence and supports the 'Birth to 3 yrs' framework and the Early Learning Goals as used in nursery and primary schools.

The sessions are suitable for babies from 4 months to four years old. If you are interested contact Mandy to find out more.

Five young parents attended a relaxation day at the David Lloyd Centre on the 17th May where they were treated to free swims, beauty treatment, aromatherapy and blow waves.

The parents were also treated to lunch and went away with plenty of freebies such as safety equipment for their children and other beauty products for themselves.

One parent said: "I've had a lovely time here today - my baby is due on Sunday and it's a lovely treat before the baby is born."

Children's Hours are units of time, known as 'Special Times' and are given by a trained adult on a one to one basis.

SpacePlayce provides a safe play-space for the child to explore freely whatever they are interested in or worried about. The adult takes care of danger, damage or unacceptable behaviour.

Through play children are able to explore their problems, hopes and fears and begin to realise their potential.

Through 'Special Times' children can gain a sense of autonomy and self-esteem which comes to be reflected in other areas of their lives. During an hour whilst the child plays, the adult reflects his or her actions back in words or gestures. 'Hours' provides a means be which a child can express difficult feelings that ar hard to verbalise and know that they have been heard. We have found that all children respond to 'Children's Hours' and feel listened to and valued for who they are.

'Children's Hours' is a period of time in which they have a caring adults attention that is completely with them whatever they do. Unfortunately children rarely experience this type of total, non-directive and non-judgemental attention. Since play is a natural language for children, when they play with a full listening adult they are, in effect talking in the knowledge that they are being heard.

Contact Ann Sullivan Children's Link Worker: 0151-233 2064.

Parents from all our local primary schools have been busy completing a beautiful mosaic.

The pieces will be on display in the new Family Centre, which will be opening in the very future.




The Parent Net group organised a 'Race Night' which was a great success with over 100 people that came along on the night.

The parents made a delicious buffet and there was a disco too, were people had the chance to have a boogie afterwards. The Sure Start team attended the event and were responsible for selling the tickets.

The whole event and raised over £350.00! Well done to everyone involved.


The Speke Carnival will be held on Saturday 26th June and will take place in the car park at Parklands in Conleach Road.

The carnival will start off with a brass band leading a parade around the streets and ending up back at the car park. The procession will have a fancy dress theme, and if last years standards are anything to go by we're all in for a treat.

There will be plenty of activities going on throughout the day including:

So come along, have a great day out and help us celebrate all that's good in our local community!

Mandy Murphy will be power walking the 'Womens 10k' on Sunday May 16th to raise money for Chris McRoe's fundrasing scheme for Diabetes UK. Chris will be walking up Kilimanjaro in Septmeber and has already raised over £4,000.

Mandy has also been busy rehearsing for her latest performance, she will be appearing this month at the Neptune Theatre performing a tap dance in the production 'Stage Struck'. Where does she get the energy from?

Pregnant women in Speke will be able to receive care much closer to home thanks to the partnership between Liverpool Women's Hospital NHS Trust and Surestart Speke. Situated in the bright and comfortable surroundings of the brand-new Surestart building, the centre will serve nearly 200 local women and their babies all within easy access.

It will be run by teams of midwives, who already provide the bulk of care, to support women and babies through pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period, and is the third of four such units planned on Merseyside. A range of services will be available such as an early health and well being assessment with a midwife, and support for parents of new-born babies including help with infant feeding. All women will be offered their routine booking scans at the unit rather than having to travel to hospital.

Women will have their pregnancy confirmed through their GP in the usual way before being referred on to the Surestart centre. The centre is linked to the Medilink computer system at Liverpool Women's Hospital to ensure continuity of care.

Midwives at Liverpool Women's Hospital believe the centre will make a real difference to local women. Grace Edwards, consultant midwife at Liverpool Women's Hospital said: "This will be an excellent service that puts women at the centre of care provision. Women in Speke will be able to receive antenatal and postnatal care in comfortable relaxed surroundings close to where they live."

Portage is all about play. We simply breakdown an activity into small achievable steps. If your family has Portage they will receive a weekly visit from a Portage trained home visitor. This will take place on the same day, the same time every week.

During the visit the parent/carer will provide the home visitor with information on what the child has already achieved and they will discuss their concerns on the child's development.

They will then decide together on an activity to be practised in the family environment for a week, thus building and reinforcing the child's confidence. At the following week's visit we will celebrate the child's success together.

To enable parents to continue with this good work Ann Sullivan is providing a 'Portage' training course.

The Tots Café has been very sucessful, with a stream of regular customers and new ones each week. The café opens each Wednesday at 12 until 1pm at the Venny in Parklands. Most families enjoy staying for the Play & Stay session that takes place once the meal is over.

We include a new tasty meal on the menu every week which costs just £2 for 1 adult and 1 child. We have started to base the menu around a particular theme each month. Last month it was Chinese New Year, this month it's Pancake Day and next month it's going to be the festival of Eid. The children are learning social skills and about cultural differences as well as having a well-balanced home cooked meal.

We've had amazing feedback from our customers. We asked them what sort of food they would like to see on the menu and tried to include them in our recipes. We are always open to new ideas, so if you have a favourite dish, let us know.

To give you the chance to try the recipes at home, each week on the Sure Start site we will be including a 'featured recipe' which we have previously included on our menu.

If you haven't tried it yet why not pop in - we always welcome new visitors to the Tots Café.

The latest Top Start Training was held at Stocktonwood and was attended by teachers, Smart staff, parents and volunteers. Top Start aims to introduce physical development in pre-school children and to encourage healthy lifestyles at an early age.

All Early Years providers who access the training will be provided with their own top start bag of equipment worth £200 courtesy of Sure Start.

The Play and Stay project use the programme on a weekly basis after the Tots café session in Parklands. Over 18 Early Years workers and volunteers including parents have accessed the training programme. SYPOP creche have been using the programme for the past 9 months. The children love the games and colourful equipment which support the early years foundation stage.

There are also Top Tots bags available for parents to borrow and have some fun with their children at home.

Over the past few months, the Community Dental Health Service have been working closely with families across the area, helping them to look after their children's teeth.

We now have a dental health play box in all pre-school nurseries across the area, helping to support and encourage children to learn through play about the importance of caring for their teeth.

All nurseries have been given a 'toy' box to keep, in addition to this, Sure Start toy library have a further box which can be loaned out to you or your group.

All boxes have puzzles, story books, puppets and dressing-up clothes. These 'toys' are used to help to talk to children about how to care for teeth, eating healthy foods and what happens when we visit the dentist.

For further information please contact Sarah Heller on 0151-228 0137 or Sure Start on 0151-486 9719.

Hello, my name is Maxine Smith and I am currently on placement with Sure Start Speke. For the past eight months or so I have also worked a volunteer for the Speke team.

I am a mum of two teenagers, a qualified nursery nurse, and I am studying full-time for a Childhood Studies degree at John Moores University, which all keeps me busy.



The Sure Start Crèche at Middlefield is a community partnership project set up between Sure Start Speke, local parents and Middlefield Community Primary School.

The premises had not been used for several years and had to be totally refurbished to meet the National Childcare Standards. Thanks to grants received from GlaxoSmithKlyne, Sure Start, the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, Speke Garston Partnership and the School. The work has now been completed and children, parents and staff are all delighted with the excellent new environment.

We aim to provide support to local people who want to get involved in their children's learning, or take advantage of any opportunities for adult education and training offered in the community.

The Tots Café has been celebrating the Chinese New Year.

The children and their families and carers enjoyed a delicious menu of chicken and sweetcorn soup, prawn crackers, prawn toast, rice, spring rolls and fruit, and as it is year of the monkey everyone made monkey masks.

Here's a picture of Kallum tucking into his meal.