This page serves to document all our archived news articles for 2009. Please note all content and images are ©Five Children and Families Trust.

On Friday 6th November the launch of the new venue for the Liverpool Parents' Interest Group took place in the Family Centre, Speke. The Parent Interest Group is a support and information group for parents of children with social and communication problems, including Autism and Asperger's Syndrome.

Mums and Dads of children and young people who suffer with Autism and Asperger's who live in the south of Liverpool and across the city got together over lunch to discuss ways in which parents and carers of children with affected by these conditions in the South of the city could meet up and offer support and help to each other and their families.

The meetings was organised by Babs and June who have been running the PIG in North Liverpool at a hall in Richmond Park together with Trish Freeman and Jackie Leonard of the children's centre.

Steve Grace was asked to come along and talk about a new project we hope to get off the ground - literally - offering trampoline sessions to autistic children at the IM Marsh Campus of John Moore's University on Saturday afternoons.

The group had lots of great ideas about what they could put in place for the children and have decided to try and obtain funding for soft play equipment the children can use while waiting to use the trampolines.

The group are also planning to have a Christmas party for the children the Sunday before Christmas, as well as to have a talk from Speech and Language therapy at a future meeting.

We plan to have monthly meetings in the Family Centre and more information about the group can be found on the website.

Congratulations to Susan Roberts and the team for winning the Morgan Foundation Best Entrepreneurial Charity 2009.

The Five Centre were awarded the accolade, sponsored by Barclays Bank, for demonstrating that their entrepreneurial flair has resulted in a contribution to social and charitable causes.

It is great to have our efforts at developing social enterprise recognised through this award.

The Morgan Foundation was created in 2001 by businessman Steve Morgan OBE in order to support charities across North Wales, Merseyside, West Cheshire and North Shropshire, with a driving philosophy of "making a difference".

The Foundation aims to provide funding for small to medium sized organisations who are addressing specific needs in these regions with a specific focus on those working with children and families.

Parents and children said a fond farewell to Mandy Murphy during a stay and play session at Speke Baptist Church.

Mandy, who has been a valued member of the team since Sure Start was first established in 2000, retired this month and will be sadly missed by staff, parents and children alike.

The projects Mandy developed over the years include Baby Massage, Baby Yoga, Musical Monkeys, Interactive Stories and Water Rhymes.

However, she will probably be best remembered for her charity work which included raising money for Zoe's Place, The Imagine Appeal and Red Nose Day (which involved sitting in a bath full of jelly with fellow partner in crime, Lois).

All the best Mandy, from all your friends and colleagues at Five Children's Centre.

The Morgan Foundation was created in 2001 by businessman Steve Morgan OBE, founder and Chairman of Redrow plc, Chairman of the Bridgemere Group of Companies and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC.

Its purpose is to support charities across North Wales, Merseyside, West Cheshire and North Shropshire, with a driving philosophy of "making a difference".

The Foundation aims to provide funding for small to medium sized organisations who are addressing specific needs in these regions with a specific focus on those working with children and families.

They are keen supporters of social enterprise and also run an annual entrepreneurial award programme established in 2007 to encourage entrepreneurship in the North West and North Wales - whether in new businesses, young entrepreneurs, social enterprises or charities.

This year's awards are sponsored by Barclays Bank and we are delighted to have been selected as a finalist in the category of Best Entrepreneurial Charity. This could potentially land us a cash prize of £10K which we will use to provide community bursaries for our Can Cook studio.

The next step for us is to present to a panel of judges who will make the final decision to be announced at a plush award ceremony on 19th Oct 2009.

Other organisations that have been shortlisted include:

It is great to have our efforts at developing social enterprise recognised through this award.

We introduced parents from our Kids Club to our new behaviour management pyramid and held a meeting to discuss what this means for them and their children. We were very mindful that parents were feeling anxious about recent staff changes and it was one of the issues that were raised; I am hopeful that they all left feeling reassured.

We had some interesting discussions about the value of play and the positive changes planned for the children's play environment. Parents were introduced to some training that can support them in terms of managing their children's behaviour and updated on training for staff and existing staff qualifications.

There was further discussion in relation to the Solihull approach that underpins our work and in particular the concept of containment which basically means making children feels secure and safe. We all agreed that clear limits were part of this.

Parents were shown the Ground Rules produced by the children and made aware that our next steps would be to do more in depth work on why we need those rules and what are the consequences if we don't stick to the rules.

It is important to get our new policy in place with the full support and sign up of all our parents and the children. We will be holding another event that brings together parents and the children in September to launch the new policy.

The most encouraging thing about the event was the fact that staff and parents were thinking on the same lines and most importantly want to develop stronger staff parent relationships.

We have been successful in gaining a £5K community health grant from Liverpool PCT to pilot an innovative approach to stress management that can be used across the ages.

Tony Lloyd our partner who is a qualified psychotherapist is leading on the work and has written a research paper on his successes in using the system with children who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

In the work with us he has a specific interest in the effect of stress in pregnancy on the developing child. There is a lot of evidence that suggests where a mother experiences high levels of stress during the antenatal period it can have a long term negative impact on the child.

It is really important if you are feeling stressed or anxious when you are having a baby that you get advice and support; all of our midwives have now been trained on the Heart Math Monitoring system and stress management techniques. The monitor is a computer system which measures your heart rate when you are feeling anxious and how by using some very simple techniques you can slow down your heart rate and also your cortisol (stress hormone) production; it gives a really visual picture of your stress levels.

We are also expanding the training to both our parent mentor staff and childcare staff as part of our commitment to the development of therapeutic practices. The monitor for children has games that are programmed by their heart rate so by slowing down and breathing properly the children are able to bring colour and movement into a still black and white picture. It is really powerful to observe the impact this can have on the children as one parent described it to their child "you'll become a human joystick." Some parents may be familiar with Heart Math which is used in the Quiet Place at Stockton Wood School.

At the moment we are embedding the techniques with the staff that have received the training and will begin to roll it out to parents and children very soon.

National Breastfeeding Awareness Week is here once again to promote breastfeeding as the healthiest choice in infant feeding. This nationwide annual event has taken place since 1993 and is run by the Department of Health.

Nutrition plays a big part in health for us all...right from the start. The best start includes breastfeeding. When pregnant our body produces breast milk specifically for our baby, giving the optimum design. Your breast milk is all the nutrition your baby needs until they are 6 months old. Breast milk 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:

To support National Breastfeeding Awareness Week 2009, we are holding a design-a-sign competition. We need a more clearly defined 'Breastfeeding Room' sign and are giving away prizes for creativity! Show us what you think would be a good sign to hang either on or above the breastfeeding room door. Only the words "Breastfeeding Room" and/or a picture is needed. It can be as simple or as detailed as you wish. All entries are welcome on any paper. So get out your pens and paper and start drawing! Please send your ideas in for the new sign either by e-mail, in the post or make in the centre and we'll do the rest. Closing date 28th May 2009. Details below.

Every year we also hold other competitions in our centre. This year we will also have another word search, a quiz and children's drawing competition. Prizes will be given to the winners. Please remember to write your name, address and telephone number on. Simply drop off your entry at the centre and we will be in touch soon...GOOD LUCK.

If your baby is due on or after 6 April 2009 you will be entitled to get a one off grant of £190.

This is a tax-free payment from H M Revenue & Customs (HMRC) if you're a mum-to-be who's at least 25 weeks pregnant. The payment is called 'Health in Pregnancy Grant' and is to help you prepare for the birth of your baby. It will not affect any of your other tax credits.

Who can get Health in Pregnancy Grant?

You can get the grant if all of the following apply:

You may not get the grant if:

Ask your midwife or doctor for a claim form they must fill in their part of the form and sign it before giving it to you. You will need to get your claim form to HMRC within 31 days of your midwife or doctor signing the form - otherwise you may miss out on the grant.

You can get a free text message or email reminder to help you remember to claim if you are not 25 weeks pregnant yet.

For more information on the Health In Pregnancy Grant or other benefits such as child tax credits or child trust fund just visit on the website.

Situated in the middle of Birkenhead, Europa Pools offers an indoor tropical paradise where our Stay and Play group relaxed and enjoyed the soaring temperatures of the all year round sunny environment - it was like sitting on a beach in Barbados!

The leisure pool and kiddies' lagoon offers an exciting range of water features including two breath-taking water flume rides; the spectacular ‘Beach Breakers' wave pool, geysers and water cannons.

Before travelling home exhausted but exhilarated we all enjoyed a bite to eat at the pool side cafeteria.



Our Musical Monkeys group has been a huge success with lots of parents and children enjoying the action rhymes and songs.

We've introduced a range of musical instruments and new songs for them to learn, and week by week we have seen the children's confidence grow as they develop new skills and enjoy the social aspects of the group.

The toddler group is taking a break for six weeks but Mandy and Lois will be starting the baby group (age 0-12 months) on April 22nd.

Due to the popularity of the group places are limited to 10 babies only, so if any Mums are interested please call to reserve a place.



Held within C.L.C Parklands and Parklands High School, this year's parent conference focused on the affects of the recent credit crunch. The title of the conference was "Fiver's go further". The participants from Speke and Garston were split into three groups and took part in the following workshops:

Each workshop lasted for approximately 35 minutes and groups rotated to attend all three.

Help and advice was available from the many exhibitors helping to improve the physical, emotional and financial well being of individuals.

Initial feedback has been really positive with many of the attendees signing up for the planned Parent's Forum later this year. A full report of the event will be available shortly.

Five for Families Trust held a very successful event for Red Nose Day at Speke Baptist Church raising the princely sum of £126-00 for charity.

Seventeen local families attended plus the children from Five Nursery. Events included Mandy and Lois from Five sitting in a bath of red jelly whilst Mandy and Lois sang and dance to 'Jelly on a plate' 'Row Row your Boat' plus lots more rhymes. Parents and children tucked into red nose cakes and dishes of jelly with gusto.

Many thanks to everyone who supported us - you all helped to make this event a great success.

Stay & Play are holding a toy and equipment sale at Speke Baptist Church, 20 February between 10.00am - 12.00pm. Any funds raised from the sale will go towards purchasing new equipment for the Stay & Play project.

If you have toys and baby equipment (must be in good condition) that you no longer use, why not come along and make some money while helping the group too.

We have tables that you can hire for the day which will cost five pounds, so If you are interested please give Lois a call on: 0151 486-9719.



Bookaboo is CITV's new series for children aged 3-6, which encourages reading for pleasure. Bookaboo is a multi-platform live action and animation series about a 'rock puppy' drummer who can't play until he has shared a book with someone! The series is backed by a high-profile publicity campaign, aimed at parents, which highlights the pleasure of reading out loud and sharing picture books.

The show runs for 13 episodes from 2 March to April 3, and features a host of celebrities (storytime ambassadors) who meet Bookaboo and help him out by sharing a story.

The 13 titles were chosen on the basis that they are fun to read out loud and both children and adults will find them entertaining.

The titles are as follows (not in order of transmission):