This page serves to document all our archived news articles for 2008. Please note all content and images are ©Five Children and Families Trust.

Stay and Play and Tots Cafe join forces at Speke Baptist Church Hall to provide a Christmas party for the parents and children of Speke.

Lois and Bev cooked a delicious Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and when the last Christmas pud was devoured there was a very special visitor. Santa Claus just happened to be passing and he popped in to see us.

The children were entertained by Steve and Jane Casey who enthralled us with a selection of Christmas stories and carols.

Merry Christmas from everybody at Play & Stay and Tots Cafe!

Christmas Stars Choir
On December 3rd parents and children of Five Children's Centre went to visit the residents of Speke Home on Heathgate Avenue and Speke Nursing Home on Eastern Avenue.

The children delighted residents with their very own rendition of a collection of favourite Christmas carols including; "Jingle Bells", "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" and "We Wish you a Merry Christmas".

Each of the homes were presented with a tin of sweets to put beneath their Christmas tree and to share with the residents and staff.

The aim of Children in Need is to positively change the lives of disadvantaged children and young people in the UK. Their vision is a society where each and every child and young person is supported to realise their potential.

Todate, this year the BBC Children in Need Appeal raised £20,991,216 and for every penny donated to the charity, a penny will go towards projects helping disadvantaged children in the UK. They are able to make this promise because the charity uses its investment income to cover all opeational costs. Every year, thanks to public donations and the amazing efforts of fundraisers, schools, businesses and our corporate partners, they are able to provide support to thousands of youngsters aged 18 and under.

As always, Mandy and Lois pulled out all the stops and arranged their own fundrasing scheme. They managed to raise an impressive £75 to send off to Pudsey. Well done to all the children, staff and parents that took part.

After a successful trip to the Holocaust Exhibition in London during the half term, our young people are preparing for the visit to Poland in the New Year.

A great deal of work is done to ensure that all the young people taking part will benefit from the visit.

They explore not only the Holocoust, but contemporary issues around racism, the importance of community and our responsibility to society and an individual.

Youth Point deliver a detached youth service in Speke and Garston under the bridge. Primarily aimed at young people between the age of 13 - 19 years, our teams are out and about on Monday and Tuesday nights 5.30 - 9.00pm.

Contact Lynnie Williams on 0151-486 9719.

Musical Monkeys is held on Wednesday mornings between 10-11am at Five Children's Centre on Conleach Road. The course runs over a period of six weeks and each session lasts for an hour. There's a charge of £2 which also includes refeshments from the centre's Can Cook Cafe

Designed for children aged between 0-3 yrs Musical Monkeys aims to introduce them to a range of musical instruments and traditional nursery rhymes and is intended to improve eye to hand coordination and to help develop cognative and social skills.

There's no need to book - just pop into the centre with your own little musical monkey to take part in the fun and games.

Interactive Story Time
Interactive Story Time is held on Friday afternoons between 1-2pm in Parklands library. This course is designed for 0-4yrs. We tell stories in a fun and exciting way using a range of props to encourage the children to take part in role play activities.

As you can see this week's theme was 'Pirates' If you enjoy reading books with your child come along to the library and have some fun joining in with the actions and rhymes.

Every day spent at school is valuable. Liverpool City Council is developing ways to make it easier for parents and carers to plan family holidays outside of term time.

As part of a proposal agreed between Directors of Children's Services in Greater Merseyside, Liverpool will be piloting a standardised school year. This means that school holidays will fall at the same time each year.

The principles for the calculation of standardised term dates are:

The pilot for this will be 2009/2010, during which time feedback from staff and parents will be considered, before a final decision is made. For more information and term dates for 09/10 go to the following link:

Holiday Discount Scheme
Liverpool City Council has also negotiated with some local travel agents to agree a discount on holidays booked outside of term time for families with children attending Liverpool schools . Further details and a list of participating travel agents can be downloaded from the following link: Every Lesson Counts

Can Cook Will Cook the school sessions really pushed the work of the Can Cook team into a new dimension as well as supporting our aspirations to extend the age range of children we are working with.

There's a lot of hype currently about obesity in particular relating to children; the Can Cook work was simple in its inception we wanted to cook great quality healthy food in our café which was also to serve our nursery, and parents responded with lots of requests for recipes.

That led to our first training course and the book Can Cook Will Cook - Everyday Food for Everyday People. The potential strategic significance of the work soon became apparent and we forged a partnership with Liverpool Taste for Health as one of their key delivery agents in respect of their targets for tackling obesity and encouraging healthier lifestyles.

The Schools sessions have been a fantastic example of partnership working with Parklands, New Heys, Caldertsones and Gateacre schools; we were also supported through the Learning Network as part of their remit for sixth form enrichment programmes.

The project involved the 4 Schools in 4 competitive Heats, and for the winning team the preparation of a three course gala dinner for 120 guests and finally a further two days intensive training at the Nick Nairn School of Cookery. No pressure there!

We did enjoy a bit of fun at Go-Ape where staff and young people all braved the largest zip wire in the whole of the UK. The only problem was the deluge of midges; we probably got more protein from swallowing them as we screamed down the zip wire, than the wonderful rib eye steaks we cooked in the day.

This programme for young people has really hit the mark in respect of enjoying and achieving but also improved health with the young people being more aware of healthier options, making a positive contribution with the young people continuing to support work in the community and achieving economic well being with two of the young people actually gaining employment through their participation in the gala evening.

One of the young people involved had this to say of the whole experience

"I believe that since before and after (the School Sessions) I have grown in confidence about myself, I tried food I never thought I would .....I just think I have grown in person and character".

They all agreed that the whole experience helped them in their ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines, and Alan and Andy both Michelin Star chefs inspired another of the young people so much they now want to become a chef.

We have exciting plans for the overall development of the Can Cook Programme and this year's school sessions will broaden out the involvement of schools with 8 six form groups participating. We have also presented a business case to Taste for Health to set up our own Can Cook Studio, not quite the Nick Nairn School of Cookery but watch this space.

Every Disabled Child Matters Have you got a disabled child? If so make sure you're getting your full tax benefits.

Thousands more families with disabled children will be better off after finding out they are entitled to tax credits. It was found that 30,000 families were not awarte that they had to tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) they were receiving Disability Living Allowance, as a result they weren't getting the disability element of tax.

We are registered with Every Disabled Child Matters an organisation that regularily takes part in campaigns to support disabled children's rights. They have been working with Contact a Family, HMRC and the Department of Work and Pensions, to look at ways to identify the families currently missing out and give them the correct tax credits.

Government has now put measures in place to make sure future claimants get their full entitlements. Now all new successful Disability Living Allowance claimants will have an orange card sent off to HMRC which acts as an alert and ensures they get their full entitlements immediately.

If you have a disabled child and are unsure whether you are getting the correct tax benefits why not call in to Speke Advice Service here at Five Children Centre; you can contact them by phone on 0151 486 8545 or call into the drop in service Monday, Wednesday & Thursday 10.00 - 1.00pm.

If you don't live in Speke you can call 0844 848 7700 or log onto Google to find out where your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau is located.

On the 18th of July Lois and the mums and children who attend the local Stay & Play group had their end of season trip. We visited Acorn Venture Farm where we were able to see lots of animals and the chance to feed them to.

The children had great fun in their play area climbing, swinging and generally having a good time. The parents were able to sit, relax and chat to each other whilst the children played. It was nice to see Heather, Rowan and Evie with us enjoying the farm experience and feeding the animals too. After a few hours we returned to Speke tired and happy and with lots of photos to show you all.

The new date for the Stay & Play is for the 12th September at 9.30-11.30am, at the Speke Baptist Church on Ganworth Road.

See you there.

Staff from the Parent Mentors Programme recently facilitated their first Mini-MEND session at Five Children's Centre in Speke. The Mini MEND team consists of Jamal Dermott, Becky Barnicle, Mo Fisk, Val Riley, Donna Lauder, Jackie Leonard and Gemma Purcell. Five children's Centre is the only organisation in the North West trained to deliver the Mini-MEND programme.

Mini-MEND is a family based healthy lifestyle programme for all families with children aged between 2 - 4 years. The programme is designed to prevent future overweight and obesity in children and promotes healthy eating and activity habits from an early age.

MEND is designed to be run directly within the local communities and can be delivered at early year's settings and leisure centres as well as schools and suitable venues that have adequate and safe facilities.

Mini-MEND is a ten week programme, running once a week for 90 minutes, with at least one parent/carer attending each session with their child.

Each session comprises of All sessions are designed to address behaviour change through the underlying principles of the 4 C's model,

Play and narrative-based learning approaches are used to help children and families engage with key messages of the programme.

Each week there is fun filled games and activities that the parents/carers and children are encouraged to participate in, this is not exercise as such but active play and is designed to give families some ideas that they can replicate at home.

Four of the weekly workshops look at specifically healthy eating and nutrition related topics. The group discussions include family friendly guidelines and practical tips for cooking, label reading and portion sizes which are adequate for young children.

Mend's aim is to empower families to make positive lifestyle changes, also providing parents/carers with information, skills and opportunities to make sustained healthy behaviour changes for themselves and their whole family.

Mini-MEND: Session One
The session began with Jackie introducing the Mini-MEND team to parent/carers and children, the team then sang the Mini-MEND 'Welcome' song designed to welcome the parents/carers and their children into our first session. Each week the team will sing this at the beginning of the session to teach and encourage the children and their parents to join in the song.

Physical Activities
The physical activities were led by Val with assistance from the rest of the team. To start the games everyone made a circle and rolled a ball to each other in turn encouraging the children to say their names.

We played a game called the 'Bean Game' were the children were asked to mimic the different types of beans. for example; stretching their bodies for string and broad bean, running on the spot for runner beans, shivering and shaking for chilli beans and for baked beans crouching into a ball.

Next we marched to the Grand Old Duke of York pretending to play musical instruments to the song. One of the children's favourite games involved dancing with scarves and swirling the scarf like a snake across the floor. To end the activity section we all returned to the circle and again rolled the ball to each other and repeated our names. Then washing their hands to "this is the way we wash our hands" the children got ready for snack time.

Snack Time
Gemma led snack time and also introduced Mr Moon who had never seen fruit or vegetables and was curious to discover what they tasted like. We sang a rhyme about looking, feeling, smelling, kissing and tasting fruit and vegetables. At first some of the children were a bit reluctant but were encouraged to try the fruit and vegetable which included strawberries and a cucumber and were rewarded with a sticker.

Creche Session
Maureen led the creche session which involved drawing and colouring in pictures of Mr Moon and fruit and vegetables. To end the session we sang nursery rhymes and read a Mr Moon story.

Parent's Workshops
Parents took part in the workshop whilst the children were enjoying the activities, Becky led the workshop giving an informal talk on the positives of introducing a variety of new food to their children. Parents also got an insight into how much sugar and fat was in different food products and were given handouts of the session to take away and read at home.

Mandy Murphy presented a £500 cheque to Alder Hey's IMAGINE fundraiser Irene Axon at Life styles Sport Centre. The money was raised by Mandy's 'Little Petals' swimming class.

'IMAGINE' is the name of Alder Hey's charity, a fundraising initiative that helps to continue their pioneering work, caring for the health of over 200,000 children and young people per year.

As Irene said: "Every donation they receive will help to achieve a little bit more, from researching medical conditions, to buying vital equipment - with your help, IMAGINE will improve the lives of children worldwide!"

"On behalf of all the children, their families and the staff here at Alder Hey Children's Hospital, I would like to thank the Little Petals for their wonderful performance this morning during their Sponsored Splash in aid of the Imagine Appeal and of course their Mummies (and the Daddy). "

"Special thanks to Mandy who shone in her outrageous outfit - you were all incredible. Thank you!"

Click here to visit the Imagine website.

Atomic Kitten member and celebrity mum, Jenny Frost, visited her hometown Liverpool to promote Breast Buddy, a new initiative from The Department of Health to encourage young mothers from low-income backgrounds to breastfeed.

Jenny met with a group of young mums and mums-to-be from Liverpool at the Five Children's Centre (Conleach Rd, Speke, Liverpool, Merseyside, L24 0TW). She talked to them about their experiences with breastfeeding and about Breast Buddy - an initiative to encourage young mums to nominate a buddy from their circle of friends and family, to provide practical and emotional support while they breastfeed.

Jenny said: "I loved breastfeeding, but there were hard times so it really helps to have support so you can keep on going. I'm so happy to be involved with this initiative because having recently had a baby of my own, I understand how valuable a bit of extra help is, in addition to that offered by your midwife or health visitor."

Mums-to-be can register for the Breast Buddy initiative by texting BUDDY to 60022. As part of the initiative, young mums who sign up will receive an information pack including the NHS Breastfeeding Guide and details of the National Breastfeeding Helpline which launched in mid February (0844 209 0920).

They will also receive texts for the first six months to encourage them with breastfeeding. Their buddy can also receive texts to help them support the breastfeeding mum, by texting in the unique code on the buddy letter.

Research shows that women who receive support - whether it be from a friend or family member, a health professional, or volunteer breastfeeding supporter - are likely to breastfeed for longer, giving their child important health benefits.

Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo says, "The Breast Buddy initiative is a chance to address the health inequalities that exist in infant feeding practices and encourage young mothers to continue to breastfeed for as long as possible. The campaign is a great opportunity to engage with some of our most vulnerable families and encourage them to get a different kind of support."

Liverpool is the third city Jenny has visited as part of a regional tour to promote the Breast Buddy initiative. The initiative is not intended to replace the advice of healthcare professionals or trained counsellors, but to provide emotional and practical support to breastfeeding mums.

For more information on Breast Buddy and the Department of Health Maternal and Infant Nutrition Campaign, please contact:

Kate Howe: +44 0207 467 9273

Candice Bowen: +44 0207 467 9293

Mandy Murphy, in conjunction with Alder Hey Children's Hospital, has organised a 'Sponsored Splash' in aid of the hospital's 'IMAGINE' appeal. the event will take place on 14 July at Speke Sports Centre. This is the second such event that Mandy has organised and we hope that this year the response will be even better than before.

What is IMAGINE?
'IMAGINE' is the name of Alder Hey's charity, a fundraising initiative that helps to continue their pioneering work, caring for the health of over 200,000 children and young people per year. Every donation they receive will help to achieve a little bit more, from researching medical conditions, to buying vital equipment - with your help, IMAGINE will improve the lives of children worldwide!

Why support IMAGINE?
We have all been children, so we have a good idea of how a child might feel when they have to visit a hospital. Thankfully, through IMAGINE, we can all do something to help make it a less distressing and more comfortable experience, and ensure that Alder Hey's pioneering work continues to make a difference to the lives of children in hospital.

If you would like to sponsor our 'Little Petals' then contact Mandy on 0151 486 9719 or pickup a sponsor form from reception.

Here at Sure Start Speke Children's Centre, Director Susan Roberts launched our new community breastfeeding room to coincide with National Breastfeeding Awareness Week. The aim of this room is to provide a comfortable, friendly and welcoming place to encourage local mothers to breastfeed in a convenient and supportive space.

It's a beautiful room, tastefully decorated with calm and relaxation in mind... just what the baby ordered! All are welcome to use the room to breastfeed their baby when in the area. If you're pregnant and your thinking about breastfeeding, you are more than welcome to join us, just come and join in.

Why not join us at our breastfeeding support group - called "Express Yourself" - which we run on Wednesdays between 11am-1pm. A midwife will be available. Come and meet other breastfeeding mothers and enjoy a chat.

We're sure you'll have lots in common. We have a cafe and private nappy-change area too.

We are centrally-positioned in Speke in close proximity to local shops and services eg Morrisons, Iceland, Post Office, Library, One stop shop and C.A.B. So if you are shopping locally and are breastfeeding, please feel free to pop-in.

For further information, please contact Trish Freeman, Midwife with Sure Start Speke, on 0151 486 9719.

National Breastfeeding Awareness Week is a nationwide annual event that has taken place since 1993. Run by the Department of Health, the week aims to highlight that breastfeeding is the healthiest feeding option for babies and mothers.

Infant and maternal nutrition plays a big part in the health outcomes for your baby. Breastmilk gives the optimum nutrition that is designed by your body, specifically for your baby. Mother's own milk... by design. Your breastmilk is all the nutrition your baby needs until they are 6 months old.

Breastmilk is free, convenient, easily absorbed in your baby's tummy and is always at the right temperature. Breastfeeding protects both you and your baby against infections and illnesses.

Breastfeeding helps protect your baby against:

Breastfeeding helps protect mothers against:

Women who breastfeed return to their pre-pregnancy figure faster.

Not all women find it easy to beastfeed initially. For some, breastfeeding can take time and commitment to master. There is support available from Midwives and National Breastfeeding Associations, including support groups and helpline numbers.

Helpful contact details:

In 2007 the Encounters arts initiative created the Moey, a mobile shop that toured South Liverpool collecting memories and stories from people in the neighbourhoods of Garston, Netherley and Speke.

In 2008 as part of the launch of the Capital of Culture, Encounters toured a sofa around South Liverpool inviting people to sit and hear some of these stories and leave stories of their own.

Be My Guest feeds back and shares these memories and stories in an intimate multimedia performance touring around South Liverpool in April and May to peoples homes, social clubs and community centres.

Small groups of residents from the different areas in South Liverpool volunteered to become Be My Guest Hosts. This inter-generational new network of people have been meeting monthly since February, sharing personal stories that appear in the show alongside others collected from the area.

Hosts have organised all aspects of the Be My Guest events, deciding where they will take place in their areas and who should be invited. Buffets, local dance troupes, George Formby sing along, fancy dress, bingo, DJ sets and Karaoke are all part of the extra entertainment that hosts themselves have organised to follow the performance.

On Friday night it was the turn of Five Children's Centre to be the host of Be My Guest and the guests included local people from across the generations. It was a thought-provoking performance that stirred the memory and brought a smile to everyone's face.

There were tears amongst the Easter celebrations in Middlefield Creche & Nursery as five of their children said goodbye to their friends and nursery staff.

Jamie, Paul, Nathan, Marcel and Calvin, who will soon be starting 'big school', received their goodbye presents from Nursery Manager Mary Brown and showed off their work files containing samples of the work they have produced during the time they have spent in the nursery.

Children and staff at Middlefield Creche and Nursery would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a 'Happy Easter' and look forward to seeing all the children back in the nursery after the Easter break.

Most of us will appreciate the health benefits yoga brings to an adult - both body and mind, but what on earth takes place at a Baby Yoga class?

Baby yoga is a joint practice between the carer and baby. Yoga helps babies to relax, to become aware of their bodies, ease away stiffness, and even get a better night's sleep,

During class the exercise you and your baby practice will:

Some of the positions we use, in particular 'tummy time' (time on their front) will to enable them to lift their heads and strengthen their neck muscles, shoulders and arms and finally their backs.

The chest stretches allow baby to breath more deeply, which increases oxygen benefiting all the organs of the body and the immune system.

Other exercises in the hour-long classes involve gentle moving and stretching of the arms, legs, abdomen and spine. Another has them whizzing through the air as if they're flying. All the while, their parents are talking or singing nursery rhymes to them.

The next class will starts April 4 at the Family Centre, run for six weeks from 10.00 - 11.00 and costs £2.00 per session. Refreshments will be provided along with time for mums to relax and chat.

Other classes that Mandy runs include:

If you are interested in any of the above courses and would like more information please contact Mandy on: 0151 486 9719.

Half Term Fun at the Kids Club
This half term is national 'Healthy Week' from 10 - 16 February, so at the Kids Club we have asked the children to take part in a range of healthy activities and competitions.

The children have been devising their own healthy menus, and this first half term we are running a competition to see who has the healthiest lunch box. A prize will be given at the end of the week for the four healthiest packed lunches.

We've also enjoyed trips out to local attractions. On Tuesday we went to 'Jungle Fun' in Belle Vale and on Wednesday we went to Speke Hall. And in the true spirit of 'Healthy Week' we all walked from the centre to the Hall and back again - with hardly any complaints!

The children have also designed their own Valentine cards. We've discovered a few budding artists in our midst and we wonder who they're giving their cards to? Surprise Surprise!

We've celebrated Chinese New Year and had the chance to try out some delicious Chinese food. We've researched the Chinese zodiac to see which animal represents the year we were born and designed our own bookmarks.

The Kids Club is well stocked with a range of equipment and activities for the children to enjoy which include:

The staff and children have had a very busy week and are looking forward to going back to school (for a rest).

Sure Start Speke Family Conference
The latest of our annual Sure Start Family Conferences took place on Wednesday 23rd Jan/Saturday 26th Jan at Parklands CLC.

Once again there was a great turn out, all our workshops were completely filled and feedback so far has been very encouraging. In June later this year we will hold another conference to feed back statistical results that was gathered from both days.

A full report will be published shortly which you will be able to download from this website or pickup from the Family Centre reception.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took part, especially our partners who included:

Sure Start Speke is holding it's annual Family Conference on Wednesday 23rd and Saturday 26th January in Parklands CLC.

This year we decided to design the conference around the "Respect Agenda". The official 'Respect Week' took place in December last year but we believe that we need to generate respect every day of the year.

The Respect drive is a cross-Government strategy to tackle bad behaviour and nurture good, creating the modern culture of respect.

It is about central government, local agencies, local communities and ultimately each and every one of us working together to build a society that respects one another - where anti-social behaviour is rare and tackled effectively, and communities can feel safe.

We believe that Respect is about You, Your Family and Our Community. There are a number of ways that you can support the Respect agenda in Speke.

Sign up for our Family Conference

Take the pledge to get back around the table

Our partners for the event include:

Places are fast filling up for the conference. However, if there is demand we will run both sessions again so everyone who wants to will be able to attend. A full report of both days will also be available.