start for Sure Start
and Fir Vale Sure Start, the local programme to improve chances
for under 4s, hopes for a fresh start with a new Programme Manager
and an apology to local parents (see right).
a difficult period with no Programme Manager and Government criticism
that the local programme was not meeting national objectives. This
led to a review of all spending and a Sure Start Board meeting in
December was told of reductions in cash given to local organisations
like Black Women’s Resource Centre, Ellesmere Children’s
Centre, Yemeni Women’s group and others.
board meeting, Julie Ward, from the new ‘lead agency’,
NCH, explained that ‘Service Level Agreements’ (SLAs)
with local providers were not focussed enough to meet targets for
improving the chances of youngsters from hard to reach families
and communities. New SLAs aim to better meet the national targets.
Anger from local
groups at a stakeholder meeting in December led to the unprecedented
apology printed here, though some have said it was the Council who
were responsible for the way groups heard about changes.
The Sure Start
programme is also being restructured to include a family support
team, early years team and health team including parental involvement
role for parents
Now, a decision
at the last Board meeting will mean equal representation from parents,
the community/voluntary sector and statutory agencies and a new
parents forum set up.