This page serves to document all our archived news articles for 2005. Please note all content and images are ©Five Children and Families Trust.

Sure Start Tots Cafe volunteers arranged to bring some Christmas Spirit to Speke Houses by arranging for children and parents from the group and our nursery to do a Carol concert for the elderly residents.

The children sang beautifully and the volunteers provided mince pies and some Christmas tipple which helped get everyone in the mood for singing, The residents really enjoyed the mini concert and gave a donation of £35 towards the children's Christmas party next week.

Thanks to all the parents and children to practiced hard to learn the words, and Speke House residents for being so generous.

Santa and his helpers paid Sure Start a visit on Sat 10th December, creating a mini winter wonderland grotto for children to visit Santa and even get their photo taken. The children told Santa some ideas of what they would like for Christmas and made promises to be good for as long as they could ( well at least until the presents are open!!!)

After chatting to Santa the children received a gift from the little helpers and the parents even got some Sure Start freebies to take home. The children loved the Grotto with the Christmas scene and fairy lights and they even got to pat Scooby Doo on the way out. In fact all the staff joined in by dressing up in Christmas costumes.

Letters to Santa where coloured in and sent off to Lapland with the children's request for toys. Parents and children then enjoyed the hot turkey and stuffing barms, mince pies and warm chestnuts.

Thanks to everyone who came along on the day and a special thanks to the team who helped make the day a success, look forward to seeing you all at next years Grotto.

On accepting the job as chef in the Family Centre's 'Library Café', Tony Evans took on quite a challenge. The cafe has two very different criteria to fill. Firstly to provide nutritious food for the children in the Neighbourhood Nursery and secondly to ensure that the café runs successfully as a cost-effective and self-sustaining business.

We all know how important it is for children to eat healthy food, the problem is, as Jamie Oliver recently discovered, they don't always agree!

For the first few weeks many Tony's carefully prepared dishes were returned untouched. However, gradually even the children started to appreciate the freshly-prepared lunches. Frozen fish fingers were replaced with fish finger butties (aka salmon fillets on wholemeal bread) and roast parsnip and sweetcorn were served instead of chips and tinned mushy peas.

Tony plans to carry his crusade into the local schools, and eventually hopes to produce his own healthy eating recipe book, to prove that good tasty food needn't be difficult or expensive to cook.

In the meantime, Tony will be adding a new recipe to 'Tony's Kitchen' online recipe book each month.

Children where first past the post at Sure Start's Fundraiser Race Night at St. Ambrose Social Club. Local parents arranged the night to help raise money for activities for local children.

The parents all did a super job to make the night a success and even managed to persuade many people to wear fancy dress, with many following the organizers super lead and turning into Super heroes, with Batman, Cat Woman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. The fancy dress competition was fan dabby dozy as the winners were Jimmy Kranky and an Officer and Gentleman look a like.

We had a huge raffle on the night with everything from phones and cuddly toys to drink hampers as prizes that where generously donated from local stores. Over 80 people attended the event with many others supporting it by becoming owners of the horses. We raised £487.58 so the children are the real winners, as the money will be used towards trips and activities in the holidays.

A big thank you to the parent volunteers, Karen Doyle, Ian Kaufman, Bev Prescott, Angie Davies, Michael Mairs and Marg Pollard for all their hard work in making the event successful and so much fun.

Everyone really enjoyed the event and the money raised will help provide activities that local children can attend.

It's been a great 5 years with some really good practice being developed here at Sure Start Speke. We wanted to share this ocassion and held a birthday party in the Family Centre to celebrate.

Chloe, pictured above with the Birthday cake, designed the original Sure Start Speke logo and was one of the many 5 year old children who joined us to celebrate our 5th Birthday Party. It was a really special day and we were joined by all year 1 children in the area.

Our thanks to the staff and children at Stockton Wood, St Christopher's, St Ambrose and Middlefield schools, the children were wonderful and a credit to their parents, teachers and schools. We loved having them and hope to see them at our grotto on Saturday 10th December.

Sure Start held a cultural day in the Space Playce for all the Parent Mentor's families. The aim of the day was to introduce the families to each other and the other mentors, and for the children to have an insight into other cultures.

We chose to include four cultures including Chinese, Indian, Mexican, and Greek. We hung menus on walls along with the corresponding country's flags so parents would know which country their favourite recipe came from.

One of our families comes from Iran and they brought a traditional dish from their home country which was delicious. Some of the children, and even some of the parents, arrived in fancy dress costumes taken from the four different cultures.

We kept the cultural theme going with the children playing pass the parcel to Mexican music and creating flags using paint and glitter.

We would like to thank the Tots Cafe volunteers for working so hard in producing all the wonderful food.

All in all the whole day was a great success with positive feedback from all the families that joined us.

Sure Start Speke and partner agencies really do want to get to know what parent's priorities are: Sure Start Speke and Parklands Extended School set about planning for a parent conference. The day which was opened by Colin Hilton, Executive Director for Children Services, was a great success. The 70 parents took part in workshops that looked at the Government's new framework for working with children which is based on what children said mattered to them - Staying safe - Being healthy - Enjoying and achieving - Getting a job and not having money worries - Being involved in their community

Apart from being an enjoyable day with lots of information coming from parents about how services should be delivered, parent's taking part felt that it was a great opportunity for them to find out more about in their area. We plan to hold this as an annual event to keep in touch with parents and families needs.

There were some key themes that came from the day and we will produce a full conference report to send to Colin Hilton and his team. Already at a local level a number of actions have been taken; here at Sure Start we have contacted David Henshaw about the lack of progress in terms of replacement green spaces and the poor play provision for children; he has responded and we have had some discussions with the Capital of Culture team, and are awaiting a response from the parks and gardens team; any parents wanting to get involved in developing play provision get in touch with Paula.

In the 'getting a good job' workshop parents were really concerned that their children struggled with job search, CV writing and completing an application form. JET plan to approach Alan Smithies, head teacher at Parklands to set up 'Focus Get Ready for Work' sessions in school: these sessions have already helped significant numbers of adults in the community to get work. The school themselves have also fed back some issues raised by parents to the school nurses team. Our own plan for the next 3 years will also include some of the ideas that parents put forward.

We hope to see more parents getting involved as a result of the day and build on this year's terrific response to the conference. We are really proud of the reputation we have and want to build on that and continue offer services that do respond to the needs of our community, making sure that early years work continues to be seen as important if we want our children to achieve their potential in later life.

A big thank you to all our partners who turned up on the day to let parents know what services are availible and help us to facilitate the event. Special thanks to the funders Sure Start Speke, Parklands Full Service Extended School, South Liverpool Neighbourhood Management Team and South Liverpool PCT and to Stockton Wood School for their wonderful hospitality.

All the comments from the day will be fed back to the local authorities who are currently working on their Children and Young People Plan. For a full copy of the conference report, which will be ready mid December, please contact Paula Bowman, Family Involvement Coordinator on 486 9719.

Sure Start Speke families enjoyed lots of fun activities throughout the summer:

Children had a the chance to make lots of arts and crafts like treasure boxes, paper weights, wind chimes and have their faces painted.

They had a bouncy time on the inflatable castle, played in pirate world and then practiced circus skills on balancing beams.

Health Walks
We all got our walking feet on and explored Millwoods where the Ranger showed us around the woodland. We learned lots about the flowers and trees and even got to meet Mr. Frog.

The children loved spotting butterflies and guessing what types of animals live down any holes we found with most agreeing that Maisie the mouse lives in Millwood.

For our second walk we went to Speke Hall where we played in the park, enjoyed a teddy bear's picnic and then joined in playing parachute games. A treasure hunt for prizes left no stone or leaf unturned as the children rummaged to find the treasure. Both walks were great fun but very tiring for little and large legs alike.

Tots Café
Sure Start volunteers ran extra play sessions at the Tots Café throughout the summer. Tots Café regulars got to invite their older brothers and sisters to join the fun and find out why they love coming to the tots Café every Monday during school time.

All the children loved climbing and running in the soft play area, and enjoyed becoming chefs by making cakes, pizzas and celebrated the last day with a party and games. Special thanks to Karen, Margie, Clare and Ian for all your hard work over the summer.

Trips Out
Sure Start families enjoyed some great days out during the summer holidays, the rides at Gulliver's and Camelot helped make everyone's tummies turn and the fun entertainment kept us all amused throughout the day.

We packed our buckets and spades and headed for the seaside at Freshfields. It was a lovely sunny day and the children had fun spotting squirrels on the nature walk.

To help cool off they had a refreshing paddle in the sea and spent time building sand castles, exploring the sand hills and playing games on the beach. After such a long hot day it was hard for the parents and children to keep their eyes open so there were a few snores on the journey home.

The weather might not have been brilliant (at least it didn't rain) but the Sure Start Family Festival was once again a brilliant success.

Maria Eagle MP helped the celebrations get started by joining in the festival parade. There was a real community effort this year with groups crossing all generations, from young babies in decorated prams to the local over sixties 'Active Age Group', from Army Cadets to Majorettes and a whole other hosts of groups in between.

Maria also had the hard task of picking winners from the fancy dress competitions.

There were rides and bouncy castles, face painting and circus acts, football tournaments and majorette dancing for everyone to enjoy.

Sure Start staff worked hard to ensure the whole day ran smoothly and Tony our chef, and Jackie and Paul kept everyone fed with delicious burgers and kebabs.

Chris McRoe Now in its second year, the purpose of the South Liverpool Customer Service Awards is to recognise and reward the contribution made by individuals to excellence in customer service in South Liverpool and highlight its importance in today's business climate in the area.

This year our very own Susan Roberts received the Customer Service Manager Award and Chris McRoe received the Healthcare Staff Award in recognition of their hard work during this past year.


The Sure Start team attended the Lord Mayors Parade on 4th June. We teamed up with AIR, Youth Point and SLR Youth Theatre Group to provide a float with a ship theme. The young people wore boiler suits splashed with colourful paints and fish hats.

The day went well and the weather was kind to us. The young people entertained the crowd singing a variety of songs on the way. This event was a good dress rehearsal for the forthcoming Speke Carnival in the next couple of weeks!


Hi everyone

As we approach summer with the usual gloomy weather looming, things could not be sunnier for the Sure Start Family Centre. It's nearly a year since we opened our doors and already hundreds of families have passed through. It is almost impossible to book a room now and a full range of activities are happening on a daily basis.

JobCentre Plus has been extremely impressed with the success of Maria McGlynn, our local lone parent advisor. Maria visits the centre every Friday to give advice on training and returning to work, she is doing such a good job, they have asked us if they can extend the service. Well done to all the parents who have taken on board the advice Maria has given and returned to work.

We have been working closely with the PCT on their Smoke Free Speke campaign, all parent mentors have had smoking cessation training and we now have Fag Ends in the center every Friday, so if you want to quit drop into the centre.

I would like to extend a warm welcome to Lynne Coates who has just joined the Sure Start team; she is an experienced early year's teacher, who was previously head of the foundation stage at Garston C of E school. Lynne has been working with the nursery team to enrich the curriculum for children, and extend the skills of our nursery practitioners. She will also be working in the community providing curriculum advice to other settings, and planning some joint sessions for foundation stage children. From September, Lynne will also work closely with local primary schools, so that together we all learn from each other to make sure children in Speke get the best early years experiences.

We have also had lots of visits from parents and workers who are part of other Sure Start's across the country; they have all been very impressed with what's on offer; it's great to think that we are providing inspiration to others.

I continue to be inspired by everything the Sure Start programme here in Speke has achieved, and need no reminding that a Sure Start programme is only as good as the parents who are part of it; keep supporting us and we'll keep supporting you.

I would also like to thank the Sure Start team whose energy and commitment keeps the programme going, all our partners, in particular those who help us to provide a quality service for families in Speke from our family centre, and of course the Board for Sure Start Speke.

Susan Roberts
Director, Sure Start Speke
June 2005

The children in the nursery have been experiencing a variety of dancing sessions over the past 3 weeeks. The dance sessions have been ballet, modern movement and Bollywood. The children have all displayed wonderful enthusiasm bringing in tu tus and dressing for the occasion.

Middlefield creche and a few children from the Play & Stay have also attended the dance sessions. After half-term there will be Flamenco dancing and a little bit of Spanish language thrown in for fun.


Spring is in the air and children at the Friday Play and Stay group have been busy planting bedding plants in the Family Centre's indoor garden area.

The children had great fun playing for ages with the soil making mud castles, and couldn't wait to take their little flower tubs home to replant in their own gardens.




The latest baby massage group finished at the end of May. Parents, babies and staff have thoroughly enjoyed the past six weeks.

We held a farewell party in the Sure Start Family Centre where presents and cards were exchanged and certificates were presented to parents that successfully completed the course.

Everyone is now looking forward to the forthcoming Sure Start Family Festival which takes place on Saturday 25th June. Parents are planning to get together to design costumes for the fancy dress competition and to decorate prams for the 'Best Dress Pram' contest.


Lennon (he's the toddler in the middle with the party hat and birthday badge), one of the children that attends Trish's Mums drop-in sessions, celebrated his 1st birthday recently.

A small birthday party was organised by Trish and the mums in the Sure Start Family Centre, and as you can see by this photograph a fun time was had by all.



Janet Hulme and her 4 year old daughter Rosie and both been attending Sure Start since Rosie was 7 months. Janet had lost 2 children before Rosie, so Rosie is the most precious person in Janet's life.

Recently Janet attended Discovery Week and has now gained a job with the project as a Parent Mentor. This is what Janet had to say about Sure Start and Discovery Week.

"Sure Start has been a life line for me as when I first came to Sure Start I'd just split up with my partner we'd been through so much after losing 2 children together and it was a very difficult time."

"I had a reason to get out of the house every day because there was actually something to do. Sure Start made me enthusiastic about turning up for events and being involved. I have done voluntary work for Sure Start and love being around other mums and children. Rosie is so ready for school now and is very bright; she can write every letter of the alphabet and has an amazing imagination. Rosie is so well developed socially and emotionally and is a joy to be with, I feel that she has benefited a great deal from all the work Sure Start has offered us. As they say, 'happy mum - happy child' and that's the case for us."

"Discovery Week helped me and other parents identify our parental skills and other skills that sometimes we can be unaware of. I can't believe I've got the job and can't wait to help other parents the way that I've been helped."

"My role will be to help parents find out what hobbies and interests they have and build on them hopefully they will find a pathway of training or employment in an area they like. I hope that I can be a good role model to other parents helping them realise that they can achieve their goals and dreams."

Sure Start's Dad group is now meeting regularly on the 1st Saturday of every month at the Spayce Playce in St Ambrose Social Club, Heathgate Ave. The next two meetings are scheduled to take place on 7 May and 4 June from 12.30 - 1.30pm.

All Dads and male carers are welcome to attend the meetings. Entry to the Space Playce is free and refreshments will be served.

Come along and meet other local dads and find out about some of the other activities that will be coming soon to the area. For further information on the Dad's Group or any of the Sure Start projects contact Ann-Marie on 0151-486 9719.

The Sure Start Team Building Away Day was held at the Anderton outdoor pursuit centre in Chorley. 35 team members attended the day and the staff were challenged to various activities such as abseiling, canoeing, orienteering, problem solving, archery and other games.

Some of the team didn't rise to the challenge of abseiling down the 35ft tower and others just over come their nerves and went for it. A couple of dare devil staff even went for another go and did an extreme session where the instructor brought them down very fast without their feet touching the wall!

The majority of staff stayed the night at the centre and travelled home the next morning.

The Sure Start Family Centre was packed to the brim with families from across Speke. The Sure Start team worked in partnership with Job Centre Plus and the Jet Centre to offer informal advice regarding training and employment.

The activities varied from cake-making, face painting, magic show, balloon making, easter egg hunt, arts & crafts, colouring competition and a raffle for a very large bunny.

Job Centre Plus staff dressed up as Easter Bunnies and scared a few little children in the process (unintentionally, I might add).

The raffle of the very large bunny was won by Helen Morgan and Neally Simms age 4 was one of the coloring competition winners.

All the children left after a very entertaining day with a free Easter egg and goodie bag.

Speke Carnival is currently being organized by Sure Start Speke, local agencies and local parents as part of National Sure Start week.

The organizers are working hard to try and make the Carnival an annual event as it used to be before it died out in the area over 10 years ago.

We need as many people involved as possible and this years theme is 'WATER' so we hope to make a big splash making the event bigger and better than last years and continue building on the events success.

The Speke Carnival will be held on Saturday 25th June 11-4pm on the car park of Parklands, Conleach Rd. The Parade will be at 12pm and there's a fancy dress and decorate your pram competition.

There's lots of activities on the day including:

We will be holding costumes making workshops in our family centre for children and parents, so look out for leaflets for dates and come along and join in the fun!!

For any further information contact: Paula or Annmarie on 486 9719

The Parent Mentor Family event held at the sure Start Speke Family Centre on March 15th was a great success, the event was planned to give families on the new pilot project the opportunity to meet each other in an informal setting.

Agencies attending on the day included:

The next intake for the paent mentor project is due to take place during at the end of March/beginning of April.

Details will be posted at the JET South Liverpool office. For futher information contact Jackie Fryer on 1051-486 9719

The Dads group started again on Saturday 12th March 6 dads/carers and 16 children attended the day at the Spayce Playce for a fun day.

The next group is Saturday 9th April at 1.00pm. It's free, so come along meet other dads and see what other activities are coming soon.




Our first 'Sleepy Heads' baby massage has proved to be a great success. Parents who completed the six week course, which was held at the Sure Start Family Centre, were presented with a certificate, and all agreed that they and their babies had enjoyed the experience.

If you would like to find out how baby massage could help your baby sleep better, then why not do so while relaxing in the company of other mums and dads. Call Mandy on 0151 486 9719 for details of the next course.

Don't forget to bring baby's jim-jams!!


Lets Play has been going on for the past 10 weeks and the children and parents finished with Chinese New Year celebrations.

The children have engaged in various activities over the past few weeks e.g. arts & crafts, water and sand play, cake making, dressing up and musical instrumemt-making.

The families were treated to a Chinese banquet to end the sessions.


Hi everyone

I'm a little late with my New Year greeting but things have been quite hectic with the many changes since we moved into the new centre.

Ironically as we celebrated our official family centre launch and the success of the Sure Start programme so far, we received news that our funding will be reduced dramatically by April 2006.

As ever we remain optimistic and have begun to develop a long term funding strategy; part of that is the achievement of charitable status which will allow us to access funds that previously were unavailable to Sure Start Speke. We are also in discussion with our mainstream partners, South Liverpool Primary Care Trust, The Liverpool Women's Hospital Trust and the Local Authority to discuss the continuation of some of the services set up through Sure Start.

It will be a challenging year if we want to preserve what we have; the good news is that we have built a sustainable community asset that will continue to deliver services for children and families with long term commitment to core funding for children centres.

The Board remains committed to high levels of parental involvement and we have been working quite closely with Parklands Extended School to extend that involvement. We are jointly planning a conference for parents in June and aim to get 100 parents from across Speke to attend; this idea was well supported at our successful “Curry Evening” which was attended by 16 parent representatives from Sure Start and local schools.

The consultation event is intended to inform parents on issues they have identified, and also consult on their views; a date will be finalised shortly and all parents who attend will receive a £20 gift voucher. We hope that this will become an annual event in the area giving parents the opportunity to have a say in services and get feedback from agencies working in the area.

If you have any ideas about the content of the day please get in touch with Paula Bowman, Family Involvement Coordinator, 486 9719.

The Parent Mentor Project has proven to be really successful and the health visitors are really pleased with the impact on immunisations and clinic attendance, Sure Start workers have also noticed an increase in numbers for all their groups. Through word of mouth we have had 13 enquiries from local women who want to be considered for our next intake, we would like to see an increase in interest from local dads.

We will be recruiting during April for a 5 week skills passport training in care, anyone attending this will be given a £20 a week training allowance and guaranteed an interview for one of the ten jobs. We are also looking to recruit an additional two parent mentors to work with families of children in Parklands High School to provide support in the community. All jobs are offered on a 1 year fixed term contract but during this time you will be supported to access longer term employment and offered on the job training. Ring Jackie Fryer on 486 9719 or check out the local JET and Jobcentre Plus nearer the time for more details.

Our nursery is going well and we are on target with our predicted numbers of children. We will shortly be recruiting a teacher who will support children in the centre, but also provide advice on curriculum to Parklands nursery as well as bringing all foundation stage teachers in the area together to support each other in delivering a quality curriculum for our children. The teacher will also link closely with Chris McRoe our speech therapist to develop training and support for parents who want to have more involvement in their child's education.

Middlefield crèche have put in an application to become a full day care provision and both our centres will be working toward the National Day Nursery Quality Assurance scheme. Places at Middlefield mean that parent's can have some respite or attend training with a very modest pricing structure.

If you haven't already tried our café, you are really missing out. Tony our chef is serving up an exciting new menu every week; you can get a delicious meal for £3 children's meals are £1.50 and that also includes their drink and dessert. The Sure Start waist lines are gradually swelling with too much sticky toffee pudding! All profits from our café are ploughed back into services for children so we can justify our big bellies. Why not come along, eat well and help support your community.

We are working with partners on the third annual Speke Carnival and hope to build on the success and popularity of the last one which was a fantastic day despite torrential rainfall. On that note all I can say is our sunny disposition will keep us enthusiastic about anything we set out to achieve and together we will continue with our commitment to influence and shape services for children in Speke.

Susan Roberts
Director, Sure Start Speke
February 2005

The 'Talking 2s' group was attended by 4 children and their parents and is for children with language difficulties. The group helps parents support their children in language development in a fun way.

The children are followed up by the Speech and Language Therapist and assistant after the group finishes.

If you have concerns about your child's speech you can contact Chris and Judy for further advice on 486 9719.


Are you a Lone Parent? Discovery Week will help you rediscover your potential for employment or training. Complete Discovery Week we'll give you a FREE highstreet voucher for £25.00

Discovery Week is a programme designed for Lone Parents, a jump start to stimulate thinking about lifestyle changes, personal development and independence that can be achieved through working.

Discovery weeks will offer you support whilst you:

Discovery Weeks are now being run at your Family Centre in Speke. To book your place or for more information contact 0151 448 0707.

The next course will be held Monday 21st Feb- 25th Feb with a free creche provided. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Over 70 children in Speke received toys for Christmas courtesy of the Rotary Club and Radio City.

The Health Visitors, Nursery Nurses, Parent Mentors and the Sure Start team worked together allocating the toys and delivering them to families.

The SLH caretakers also gave a helping hand to the remaining toys later on in the day that the staff tried to deliver but some families were not in.

The teams enjoyed working together in a make shift grotto full of toys in the Health Visitors new office at the Sure Start Family Centre.

The Health Visitors and their team have now officially moved into the Family Centre during the Christmas period.