Devizes MP Claire Perry backs thriving children’s centres in Wiltshire (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Devizes MP Claire Perry backs thriving children’s centres in Wiltshire
3:17pm Friday 22nd March 2013 in News
Devizes MP Claire Perry visited children’s centres to find out about the support they provide to families in the constituency.
Mrs Perry heard from families, including those serving in the armed forces, about the tailored support they receive at Windmill Hill Children’s Centre, Tidworth.
Then she spoke to staff and volunteers at Devizes Community Children’s Centres about the support they provide to victims of domestic abuse through their Freedom programme.
There are 30 children’s centres in Wiltshire, 16 of which were taken over by national charity 4Children in April 2011 and four of which are in the Devizes constituency.
The charity took over the centres following an effort by Wiltshire Council to drive up the number of families accessing the centres’ services, enhance the support offer and improve record-keeping on the impact of the centres’ work.
In recent Ofsted inspections, of the eight centres that have been inspected, five have been assessed as outstanding, two rated as good and one as satisfactory.
On her visits to Windmill Hill and Devizes community children’s centres, Mrs Perry said: “I was delighted when 4Children were able to take over the running of the children’s centres in Wiltshire and my visits to two of those centres confirmed it was a wise decision.
"It was fantastic to see so much energy and innovation; all directed at supporting parents and children in the crucial early years.
"The wealth of varied and tailored support on offer at both centres was clearly invaluable and it is reassuring to know that parents in my constituency can have access to these important services.”
Charles Ellis, deputy chief executive at 4Children, said: “We are delighted to be working with Wiltshire Council to provide crucial support to local families.
"By forging strong local partnerships in areas such as health, education and welfare, we constantly strive to deliver relevant, welcoming services that respond to the needs of the local community.”
Ofsted said of Devizes South Community Children’s Centre in October last year: "Extremely positive relationships make a highly tangible difference to the well-being of centre users.
"Families appreciate the very caring atmosphere, friendly staff and the outreach work. The centre has a strong focus on the health of families and so outcomes are outstanding.
"Over half of parents typically return to paid work through opportunities provided or signposted by the centre.
"The majority of families using the centre engage in training and opportunities to enhance financial stability.”