This page serves to document all our archived news articles for 2006. Please note all content and images are ©Five Children and Families Trust.

My name is Anne Byrne and I will be working alongside the Practice Nurse Development Team as a 'Patient Advocate Worker' for cervical cytology. I will be working within the PCT's in Speke and Garston helping to promote cytology.

My role is to support women with any problems they may have around smears and help them overcome any fears they may have. I want to raise awareness around the issue of 'Smear Testing' and stress how important it is to have them carried out regularly.

A few years ago I had a bad experience that put me off going for my smear test. Thankfully I did go, as the results came back as abnormal which meant I required treatment. I understand the fears and embarrassment these tests provoke and I also understand the consequences of not having them done.

If you are due for a smear test and are feeling uneasy about it, please give me a call on 0151 234 1000 to arrange an informal, jargon free, confidential chat.

My Journey of Fear for a Smear
I kept putting off having a smear test for many years after I had my children because I'd had a bad experience with a doctor when getting a coil fitted. I was so tense and didn't know what to expect and he'd made me feel so intimidated. He actually told me to grow up and asked "How dd you ever have kids". I bet he couldn't go through having babies.

Anyway, years passed by and those dreaded brown envelopes kept popping through the door inviting me to come for a smear test. I made many an excuse to get out of going because of the bad experience I'd had in the past. Then I thought to myself, I have two lovely healthy kids and what would happen to them if I got sick? So I phoned my doctors to make an appointment to have my smear done. I was scared but I thought "be strong, it's your health at the end of the day" The day arrived for my smear to be done and I was introduced to a lovely nurse called Rita. I felt so relaxed with her as she was so gentle and understanding. I explained my fears and she made me feel like a real person, not at all like the doctor had made me feel when he had treated me like a piece of meat lying on the bed who didn't have any feelings. That was twenty years ago but I guess it still goes on.

I had every confidence in Rita during my smear and I came out feeling very proud that I had gone through with it. Actually, it was quite painless and this was all because I'd felt relaxed which was due to having a lovely nurse who understands that every woman is different with different needs.

Six weeks went by and one day my phone rang and it was Rita. She explained that my smear test had come back showing abnormal cells and that she was referring me to the coloscopy clinic at the Women's Hospital. I felt sick and I cried for a week worrying what was going to happen to me. I was sent loads of information through the post with my appointment date explaining what happens on your first visit.

The day before my appointment I had my feet and toes manicured, shaved my legs and even tided up my bits. You would have thought I was going on holiday. I even made sure that I had my best underwear on. What us women go through I thought.

i arrived at the Women''s and my hands were shaking with nerves. The staff were fabulous and made me feel relaxed throughout the whole examination. At the end it was explained to me that I had stage 1. That's it I thought, I've got cancer! Then it was explained to me that I did not have cancer but my cells throughout the thickness of the surface layer were abnormal and that treatment would be needed to return them back to normal. If this was not carried out it could then lead to cancer. Once again I felt sick "How am I going to do this?" I was so frightened but in my heart I knew it had to be done. The night before I was due to go to the hospital arrived and here I go again getting my feet done, shaving my legs and tidying up my bits. My daughter came with me to the hospital for support and to hold my hand.

We arrived at the hospital and was taken to the treatment room where I had to change into a white gown. I was so nervous I put it on back to front and was showing all my bits off. Good job I'd tidied it up!

The nurse came in and I lay on the bed sweating with nerves. I had to put my legs in stirrups, which made me feel even worse. The nurses were so nice and reassuring that I felt at ease and knew that this is what I had to do. The treatment I was having was called 'Loop Excision'. As they were dong the procedure you could see what was happening on a screen. I could hardly look, but my daughter was holding my hand so I felt more relaxed. Then all of a sudden she was leaning towards the bottom of the bed and I grabbed her back, thinking she wanted to have a look at what they were doing, but she was actually fainting. The nurse grabbed her and wheeled her out in a wheelchair . I couldn't believe it! I was the one in the bed and there she was fainting because of what she had seen on the screen. That made me feel worse and I started sweating and felt like I was also going to faint because I was worried about her.

The nurse told me to try and calm down and that my daughter would be fine. I had to take my top off because I was so hot. All I was thinking was I hope I've put a good bra on. Anyway, after all the commotion the treatment carried on. All in all it lasted about 20 minutes. I was not in any pain at all because of the local anaesthetic I'd had before the treatment. I was so relieved when it was all over. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Then I was taken into the recovery room where my daughter had been taken. We were both in the same bed! We were laughing about what had just happened. Who would have believed that she would be warming up my recovery bed for me.

Six months later I had to go for another smear to see if any of the cells had reappeared. I was so relieved when I got the results as they were all clear, and my smears would now be done annually to enable them to keep a close eye on me to see if anything would change.

The results from the following four years all came back clear. Then in the fifth year I received the dreaded phone call from my nurse advising me that the results had come back as borderline. This meant that I would not have to have another coloscopy but would simply have to have another smear in six months time. Six months later I had the smear and the results came back normal.

The experience made me realise that smears are so important. If I had let my experience with the coil put me off going for the smear test that day I could have cancer now and my children could be without a Mum. I would strongly advise every woman to go for her smear test. It takes two minutes and could save your life.

Anne Byrne

We have a surprise addition to our nursery's Pets Corner. After the terrible episode when our pet rabbits were stolen and later found in a bin bag, imagine our surprise a few weeks later when we found out Tamzin was pregnant.

We are pleased to announce Tamzin has given birth to a cute baby bunny who is four now weeks old.

Mum and baby doing well!


Fun was had by all over the summer despite the weather. Children and parents enjoyed all activites especially the puppet making sessions. What skill with needle & thread!

Jackie's card making session grabbed parents enthuasiam, so much that they hit the craft shops to start making their own cards.

The sun was shining for sports day and what talent we saw during the obstacle race and the egg & spoon, watch this space for future Olympic contenders.

What a surprise! It rained for the BBQ, but hey it became an indoor BBQ and everyone tucked into the delious burgers and hot dogs. A big thank you to Tony, Diane, Angie & Margie for making this event such an enjoyable afternoon.

Sure Start summer Activites would not be complete without our trips to Greenacre Farm and Gullivers world. Everyone enjoyed the days out, especially feeding the animals and circle time. Guess who won the pig race during the tractor ride? Yes that's right it was Smokey Bacon again for the third year running.

Thanks to all children, parents, grandparents and staff who made the summer at sure Start such FUN!

Ten SureStart Speke families took part in a "Sponsored Splash" at Garston Baths to raise funds for Zoe's Place. The event had a nautical and fishy theme - one of the mums made the children hats reflecting different sea creatures.

Each child had a small inflatable dinghy, and background music and rhyming songs were also sea-based. Following the sponsored Splash, children had a Nemo-themed party. Michael Anderson, a representative from Zoe's place, was in attendance to capture the event on film, and accept the £300 cheque on behalf of Zoe's place from the organizer Mandy Murphy.

Many thanks to everybody involved.

If you are interested in the weekly Water Rhymes sessions please contact Mandy Murphy at SureStart Speke Family Centre on 486 9719 for session dates and times.

Zoe's Place
Zoe's Place Liverpool is the first baby hospice in the U K providing 24 hour respite and palliative care for babies with multiple special needs, they also offer one to one nursing care for babies aged 0-5.

If you would like to pledge a donation or find out about the services offered at Zoe's Place, contact:
Zoe's Place Baby Hospice
Life Health Centre, Yew Tree Lane
West Derby, Liverpool L12 9HH
Tel: 0151 228-0353
Fax: 0151 252 2280

'Billy Blood Drop' paid a special visit to our nursery recently to explain to the children why it is so important to donate your blood. Ben (one of our nursery children) made us all laugh when he asked asked Billy "which bank is it then?"

The children really enjoyed talking to Billy and what's more his visit has helped them understand the importance of helping others in need. Before he left Billy gave everyone a present of a colouring book and crayons.

If you would like more information on becoming a blood donor please call 0845 771 1711.

Sure Start Speke: Family Festival The crowds where out in force on Saturday for the Sure Start Speke Carnival and even the sun managed to pay us a visit for a short while.

Dean Sullivan (aka Jimmy Corkhill) opened the event and helped to get the celebrations started by joining in the Carnival parade on the top of an Arriva bus. There was a real feeling of community spirit this year with groups pulling together to make this the best carnival yet.

There were rides and bouncy castles, face painting and circus acts, football tournaments and majorette and belly dancing for everyone to enjoy. The winners of the 'best dressed world cup football' were Olivia Rochford from Speke (aged 7) and Matthew Robberts from Runcorn (aged 3), Photographs of the winners will be added to the site shortly.

Sure Start staff worked hard to ensure the whole day ran smoothly and Tony our chef, and other cafe staff kept everyone fed with their menu of delicious burgers and kebabs.

Well done and thank you to everyone that supported the event!

At Sure Start Speke we are working to create an early year's environment that is second to none in the country. We are a unique, innovative organisation, operating the only independent children centre in Liverpool and look to recruit highly motivated and skilled individuals to work with us on an enterprising new phase in our delivery; we want you to join us if:

Early Education Consultant
We are seeking to recruit an experienced early year's teacher; you will lead our education team in the development of best practice approaches both centre based and across all early years' settings within the Speke district of Liverpool. You must be a highly skilled early year's practitioner who can evidence strong curriculum development in the foundation stage with knowledge and experience of incorporating the birth to three framework in your work. Ideally you will have experience of developing and implementing training packages that support both parents and practitioners in the development of excellence within a broad early year's context.

Only those individuals with the drive and ambition to improve the lives and aspirations of children in Speke need apply. An attractive and competitive salary is offered for both positions dependant upon skills and experience.

For an application pack please contact Lynne or Sharon on 0151-486-9719.

We're calling on all Sure Start Mums, Dads and Carers to 'Take the Plunge' by pledging your support for our babies and toddlers in their 'Sponsored Splash' for 'Zoe's Place'.

Zoe's Place Liverpool, is the first baby Hospice in the UK providing 24 hour respite and palliative care for babies with multiple special needs. They offer one to one nursing care for babies aged from 0-5 yrs.

Here are two very special quotes from Zoe's Place.
"Although we are a Baby Hospice, Zoe's is not a sad place".

"They give us far more than we can give them including their trust and their love, what more could we ask for?"

So come on take the 'plunge!' today and 'Splash Out'! For this worthy cause. Sponsor forms are available in our SureStart Speke Family Centre.

For further information or to pledge your support, contact Mandy Murphy on 0151-486 9719.

Zoe's Place Sponsored Splash
Garston Baths, 13th July 2006, 12-00-1-00pm

At Sure Start Speke we are working to create an early year's environment that is second to none in the country. As a unique, innovative organisation, operating the only independent children centre in Liverpool we wish to commission an artist to work with children, parents and early years practitioners to create a unique play environment that is modular and can be easily changed by staff to enable our children to experience a multitude of new and challenging play-scapes.

Crucial to the design will be the creation of an environment that can stimulate all of the children's senses. We want children to have experiences they have never had before. We hope that your work will kick start an inspirational approach to play in our community.

If as a creative individual or enterprise:

Then you are invited to tender for the opportunity to make use your creativity to enhance early years play provision within our centre. Tenders are invited from both the experienced and inexperienced artist so if you feel you can rise to the challenge, request a copy of the tender document now.

Please contact Lynn or Sharon on 0151 486 9719 or or right-click here download the tender document.

Summer is quickly approaching and our thoughts turn to being out and about having great fun, what better place to do this than Speke Carnival.

SureStart Speke, with the help of local agencies and local parents, are organizing this event again this year. The festival will be held on Saturday June 24th at The Parklands Site.

We need as many people as possible to get involved and make this fantastic day, even bigger and better than last year, but we need your help to do it! Speke has a brilliant community and the carnival is a community event so if you want to get involved come along and support The Speke Carnival.

These are some of the activities booked so far:

For more information please contact The Sure Start Speke Family Centre on 0151 486 9719

Water Rhymes
Water Rhymes is a fun way of encouraging water confidence and social interaction for youngsters from 4 months to 5 years.

The classes take place each Thursday between 1 and 2 pm at Austin Rawlinson Sports Centre, and are delivered by SureStart staff. Each session includes songs and games which the children love. Minibus transport is provided, and each session costs £3. Anyone interested in joining the group should contact Mandy Murphy.

Mandy's Story Time
Mandy's Story Time is a new project held at Parklands Library, each Friday, starting 28th April, from 2 Ð 3 pm. For all children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years.

Mandy uses fun and interactive stories and songs to capture the children's imagination thus enhancing their concentration levels and improving oratory and listening skills.

Space is limited! To ensure your place call Mandy.

Family Fit'n'Fun
Family Fit and Fun sessions are a unique way for parents and their young childen to exercise together in a fun and safe environment.

Using familar songs and rhymes the chldren learn stretching exercises that will strenghtern young bones,improve co-ordination and generally heighten fitness levels (your own included).

Family Fit'n'Fun sessions take place every Monday morning from 9.30 - 11.30 at Stockton Wood Adult Learning Centre (term time only). If you would like further information give us cal or just pop in.

For information on any of Sure Start's courses please contact us on 0151 486 9719.

Guzzle Guts Breast Feeding Group have paid a fond farewell to Caroline and George. We have really enjoyed our tine together. Best wishes to them both for the future and a special happy birthday wish to George who is celebrating his first birthday 22 April.

National Breast feeding Week
National Breast feeding Week will take place from Sunday 14 May - Saturday 20 May. We are busy preparing activities to promote breast feeding in the area, so check back here for details.

Buy one get one free!
If you live in Speke, Sure Start is having a 'buy one get one free' offer on NCT breast feeding bras. Contact Trish for details on 07734481497.

Last but not least, don't forget everyone is welcome to join us at 'guzzle Guts' so why not give us a call or just drop in any Wednesday from 1 - 2.30pm.

The SureStart Nursery has had its first official Ofsted spot inspection. The Nursery was judged on how well they met the following outcomes for children:

For Enjoying and Achieving the Nursery received a judgement of outstanding. The inspector quoted that 'only 16 settings in the whole of the country had been awarded this accolade'. For all other standards we received judgements of Good.

The inspector highlighted the hard work of all staff members in 'ensuring a balanced and stimulating curriculum is provided which is carefully designed and planned to meet the learning needs of all children' from birth to 5 years old. The inspector also made reference to the enthusiasm shown by staff for children's early learning: "every opportunity is taken to help children develop knowledge and skills, resulting in children who are interested, motivated and very keen to learn".

The Nursery was also praised for their close links with other professionals within the SureStart organisation. Help and support is readily available for parents and staff from Health Visitors, SureStart Speech therapist and Early Years Consultant as well as the centre's chef who regularly comes into the Nursery and helps the children to cook their own healthy lunches.

The grading scale used to make judgements is as follows: