This page serves to document all our archived news articles for 2012. Please note all content and images are ©Five Children and Families Trust.

Unfortunately our Christmas Grotto is already fully booked but because we know that some children are disappointed we have asked Mickey and Minnie Mouse to join us for Christmas Lunches and they have said yes.

We are holding two sittings at 12pm and 1pm on Thursday 6th and 13th December and Friday 7th December where they will be serving up Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings!

Lunch will cost £3.50 for adults and £2.00 for children. Early booking is essential and tickets will be available at reception.

Stay & Play and Tots Café will have their own Christmas dinner on Friday 14th December.

The citywide review of Children Centres was completed and thanks to everyone who supported the Centre during the consultation. We are really pleased that we remain a standalone Centre but we have been faced with cuts to our budget and have still had to make some savings.

We have completed a service review and despite the funding reductions have put together a programme of work that we think will really benefit families and also respond to some of the new priorities required by government. Liverpool City Council are taking part in a pilot of payment by results so they have asked us to focus much more on:

There is plenty of evidence that shows all of these things can have a huge impact on your children's learning and development throughout their lives.

Call in to the Centre and find out more about what's on offer and dads - make it your New Year resolution to get involved in your Children Centre community and give your child a great start in life.

As part of our Ready Steady School programme, Rebecca and Lois will be delivering Bookstart Corner in groups as well as 1-1 sessions in the family home. The sessions will support and encourage reading with your children.

Families that take part will receive a wonderful free Bookstart pack with story books and so much more for the children to enjoy.

There are 4 fun sessions; Make time for Rhyme, Sharing Books & Stories, Making Stories Come Alive and Fun with Mark Making.

Call into the Centre or ring 486 9719 if you want to help give your child a head start with communication, language and literacy skills.


Nursery Charity Night
Nursery raised a massive £1780.00 towards their new interactive white board! Thanks to everyone that contributed, and to staff who worked so hard to make it a success. Special thanks to Danielle Woods who was the driving force behind a great night.

Early Years Choice Advisor
Anne Lalley is the new Early Years Choice Advisor and she will be working closely with Children's Centres in Liverpool to help parents/carers understand their entitlements in relation to Early Years childcare provision. Anne can also give advice on primary school admission and help to complete online application forms. Give Anne a call on 225 6030 to arrange a meeting here in the Centre.

Dad's Incredible Years
We've talked about the importance of dads getting involved with their children's play; in fact it's so important that we will really be focusing on services in the Centre that support dads to take a more active role.

Incredible Years is an evidence-based programme that gives parents the skills to support their children's learning and their social and emotional development. It definitely works best if both parents attend the group but we know it's often difficult for dads during the week, so we have decided to run a dads only group at the weekend.

We know that dads who have taken part in the past have gained a lot from them. It's also a good way to meet up with other dads. If you would like to find out more contact Jamal on 486 9719.

Do you want to get out on your bike, meet other people and get some exercise?

Our rides take place in and around south Liverpool. Routes include some on-road stretches - our volunteer cycle leaders are on hand to help improve your confidence and develop your cycling skills.

The rides use local cycle routes to visit places like the Mersey Promenade, Calderstones Park, Speke Hall and Speke Garston Coastal Reserve.

Everyone is welcome to join - we ask that under 18's are accompanied by an adult. You must have a roadworthy bike to take part. If you don't have a bike, don't worry! We have a limited number of pool bikes available.

To book your bike in advance or for more information on rides, please contact Alice by or ring her on on 07799037044.

Directions: Speke Meeting - Every Saturday at 10.30am
Meet us at Speke Fire Station, Cartwrights Farm off Speke Hall Avenue. Rides last for around 90 minutes.

More info on cycling events around Liverpool can be found here:

Government has introduced 15 hours free childcare for two year old children.

There is a huge body of evidence that says access to good quality childcare can have a huge impact on children's education in later life. We will be undertaking some refurbishment in the Autumn to enable us to expand our care and we have some really exciting plans about how we link this with our Ready Steady School work. If you would like to find out more about whether your child is entitled give us a call.

Once the work has taken place we are confident that we will move a step further toward our goal to be outstanding and we hope to have a play day at a later date to show off and give parent's some insight on the impact of good quality early education. on their children's lives.

We are really excited to have received funding to enable us to work in partnership with Mersey Forest and Speke Hall to start a Foundation Stage Forest School in Speke.

Forest school, has been operating in the UK since the 1990's and the current model is now known internationally for its good practice, and positive outcomes on children's listening skills and their social and emotional development.

Two of our staff (Rebecca Papaspyridis and Allette Barton) attended initial 1 week Level 3 training with Archimedes Training. Achieving the full qualification is a 6 to 12 month process although forest school without tools and fire can be delivered after the initial training.

We plan to pilot this work with our preschool group early September as a 6 week pilot programme, in the Speke Hall woods in the meantime we have picked up some fantastic ideas that can be built into our everyday outdoor play in nursery and for trips out with parents.

New Futures Speke Garston, is a group of local parent volunteers who have come together with the aim of securing funds to provide activities for families from Speke and Garston. They hope to engender a sense of community through a range of targeted activities designed to promote healthier, happier homes

A launch day was held based around promoting health and wellbeing. 152 people came and local service providers offered their support including Speke Fire Service, Jumping Jacks and Pat Fagan, who tirelessly painted the children's faces.

Everyone at Five is proud of their dedication and hard work. They have been extremely busy with summer, autumn and Christmas events already being prepared.

If you would like to become a volunteer, please call Jamal or Allette on 0151 486 9719.

ASDA Hunts Cross recently launched their Community Life Project, 'Chosen by you, given by us' scheme. Charities and organisations from within the South Liverpool area were selected and given the chance to win a small grant.

Each time a customer shops in Asda they are given a token to vote for their favourite project. At the end of a two month period, the charity with the most tokens will be awarded a £200 grant, whilst the two runners up will receive £50 each.

Lois and Mike represented our Stay & Play group, which was nominated for the award. Lois met with Lord Mayor Frank Prendergast who launched the initiative and told him about the good work we do here at the Centre.

Since winning the Best Entrepreneurial Charity Award 2009 with the Morgan Foundation, they have continued to be a great source of support. Jane Harris, their administrator, in particular has been fantastic.

They have just granted us three year funding for a part time community development worker which will allow us to continue to support the development of some new strands of work in the community.

Jane is also looking at how the Trust can support our young Beat Abuse group and she has put Can Cook forward for another Morgan Foundation Award in the Best Social Enterprise category.

We look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.


Parent Hub is based at The Noah's Ark Centre and is run by a team of local volunteers. It's open two days a week each Tuesday and Thursday from 9.30-2.00

At the heart of Parent Hub is a low cost healthy choice cafe, where you can pop in and have a cuppa or treat yourself to tasty lunch. If you'd like to learn more about cooking yourself, the Community Food team are running a „Healthy Eating on a Budget' course,

There are a range of professional services including Liverpool Work and Training (aka JET), CAB, ADD-Action and PSS Postnatal Depression Project.

Supported by Women Get Active, there's women only Zumba and Thai Kick Boxing, and for the men, LFC Men's Fitness Course. If relaxing is more your thing, Love and Light offer reduced cost beauty and massage therapies on a Thursday afternoon.

Our own Stay & Play sessions have moved from the Baptist Church hall and now also run from the Centre

With more courses and ideas in the pipeline why not come along and have a chat with the team and see what else is on offer, and more importantly, tell them what YOU would like to see. After all, „if you don't ask - you don't get'!

We have recently been judged by OFSTED as a "good setting with outstanding features".

The Ofsted Inspector was keen to point out that we were very close to achieving an overall outstanding. She recognised outstanding practice for the opportunities children are given to make a positive contribution in their community and praised the independence and confidence of children in our care.

We also achieved "outstanding for aspects of leadership and management". Our inspector said "The settings commitment to maintaining continuous improvement is superb and managers make excellent use of quality improvement tools".

We are looking forward to them calling again, to give us the opportunity fulfil our ambition to be an outstanding setting.

The Nesta Neighbourhood Challenge is a project working with the Big Lottery fund to support community led innovation. The aim of the project is to encourage community organisations to work together to create responses to local priorities, and to show people what can be done when equipped with the right skills and a small amount of money.

Each qualifying group received £2,500 to help get their project off the ground and the chance to go on to win up to £20,000 Challenge prize. We had three successful applications:

1: Ready Steady Schools
This project has been designed to help to prepare pre-school children and their parents for the big leap to primary school. The pilot course ran in partnership with two local schools.

Parents from both courses said that they really enjoyed the informal training and would recommend that all parents with a child ready to start school nursery should attend.

2: Beat Abuse
After the tragic death of their friend Kelsey Shore a group of her friends formed the Beat Abuse group. After winning SLH's Dragons Den competition, this allowed them facilitate an awareness conference around domestic abuse for young people in the local area.

They went on to secure local authority funding to enable them to go on a residential weekend in the Lake District to nurture team spirit and to focus their minds of the task ahead.

The £2,500 from Nesta has been spent on the production of a leaflet in the guise of a mobile telephone, warning teenagers of the early signs and consequences of abusive relationships. This will be circulated to all senior schools and youth organisations throughout the city and beyond.

We're pleased to announce that the group has recently been awarded a further £10,000 from Nesta to develop their project.

3: Five Season's Dad's Group
The money received from Nesta enabled the group to secure the support of Gemma Jerome and Can Cook in establishing our initial garden allotment here at the Centre.

Things have moved on a bit since then and after a substantial donation of gardening equipment from our local Dobbies store, the group has found a new venue in the land surrounding Speke Garston Fire Station with loads more space in which to grow their fresh fruit and veg.

Thanks to those of you who took time to sign our petition against cuts to Children Centre services and special thanks to all of you who were so supportive of staff at the consultation event on the 20th April.

We were overwhelmed that so many of you shared your stories and openly discussed what the Centre has done to support families in our community. We appreciate the time you gave to make your voices heard. Our mission statement "passionate about making a difference to the lives of children and families in Speke" really came to life with the passion that was demonstrated on that day.

The meeting in our Centre followed on from an Education Select Meeting at the Town Hall the previous night, I was asked to speak on behalf of all Liverpool Children Centres, I'm told that I did a good job but then public speaking is part of my role.

However, I was clearly upstaged by parents, none of whom have ever spoken publicly before. They were truly amazing and nobody, not even city councillors, could help but be moved by their heart felt sincerity.

Parents presented a petition to the committee which includes nearly 9,000 signatures with our online petition pushing the count to over 10,000. The consultation is now closed but we will have another opportunity to go to the Town Hall and state our case to the Education Select Committee once all the views from the consultation have been pulled together.

Parents across Liverpool continue to SAY NO to 53% CUTS to Children Centre services and we will keep you updated about any events that take place where Speke parents can make their voices heard.

Susan Roberts

Liverpool City Council is currently consulting on cuts to its Children Centres.

The Board and our partner agencies have already met with Liverpool City Council and a number of points were raised.

Liverpool is the 2nd most deprived city in England with the highest levels of child poverty.

The early intervention grant (where Children Centre budgets come from) was cut by 23%, yet our budgets have been cut by 53% or £6.6 million!

The average cuts to Children Centres in England is only 21% yet Liverpool City Council is proposing 32% HIGHER CUTS to Liverpool children centres. How is this justified?

We believe these proposals will affect those children and families who are in greatest need more. You should insist your Local Authority carries out an "Equality Impact Assessment".

Cuts will destabilise children centre delivery across Liverpool just as Government are introducing payment by results - with reduced staff we cannot get results this may mean further reductions to children services in the future.

The council would have you believe that they are protecting children centre services but it is the belief of our board that these proposals amount to closure through the back door. We are urging parents to reject these cuts and there are a number of ways this can be achieved.

Have Your Say:

You can also email your local councillors and your local MP to object.

Following the successful event last year to help raise awareness of the effects of domestic abuse, our young people have continued to meet on a weekly basis to improve their own knowledge and consider ways to get the message out there.

The group chose social media networks as their initial preferred method of engagement. Group pages and been established on both Facebook and Twitter.

Regular statistical information and updates have been given to make young people think about the effects.

Additionally the group have been successful in securing £2.5K from the Nestor Fund to enable them to have fliers and young people-friendly information booklets printed.

The contents and the design of the leaflets has been entirely the hard work of the Beat Abuse team.

They are hoping to distribute the leaflet in schools and local youth providers before the anniversary of their friend Kelsey's death in April.

We held an early Mother's Day celebration at the Centre, inviting Mums and Grandmothers to help their little ones create cards and gifts for the special event.

The children wrote poems, created hand print pictures and decorated cup cakes with hearts and flowers.

Everyone said that they had a lovely time and particularly enjoyed the homemade cakes loving prepared by Susan and Gill.

It just remains for us to wish all our hard working mums a Happy Mother's Day and to thank the staff for their hard work in making the day such a success.

World Book Day is a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

March 1st was the 15th anniversary of World Book Day. The main aim of the event is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.

That's why we invited local families to come and help us celebrate and presented them with a voucher to purchase a book of their choice.

Children came dressed up as their favourite characters and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon outside in the Children's Centre garden listening to a story about Mr Mole counting all his gardening equipment.

After some light refreshment Lois enthralled us all with another story called "What the Lady Bird Heard" and everyone had fun joining in with the animal noises.

It was a great day, but let's not stop there - as a parent, you have the power to boost your children's learning potential simply by making books an integral part of their lives.

So let's celebrate the joy of reading everyday!

Those of you that come to our Stay & Play sessions will already have met Five's famous Monty the Bear.

Monty looks forward to meeting new friends and going on adventures when the children take turns in taking him home each the week.

Monty returns the following week with stories, drawings and photographs that the children have taken to describe the adventures they have been on together.

Stay & Play will move to their new venue in the Parent Hub (the old Noah's Ark site) from 20th April.

The group will still meet at the same day and time: Friday, 9.30am - 11.30 am.

Families with children from 0-5 years are welcome to join us.

See you there!