Deputy Minister welcomed at local Early Years Family Centre and local childcare provider
Flintshire County Council welcomed the Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan, to the Westwood Early Years Family Centre recently.
The visit showcased the activities at the Centre, including the 3-4 year old Childcare Offer, the Flying Start team and what has been achieved through the Welsh Government capital programme and other grant funding.
The Deputy Minister had the opportunity to meet a member of Community Parenting and to hear how they have used the facilities and developed the Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities volunteer led parenting support – a first for Wales, and to hear about how families and children with a disability have benefited from the modernised space.
“I was pleased to meet some of the children and families benefitting from the important services provided by Westwood Early Years Family Centre, including Flying Start. It was fantastic to see how Welsh Government funding is being used to bring early years services together, under one roof. I would like to thank the dedicated staff who are helping children develop and prepare for school and are supporting parents, ensuring facilities like this make a real difference to families.”
The capital funding has been used for eleven Early Years schemes which has seen the building of ten modular schemes and one renovation. The schemes were built in areas of need, based on the demand for childcare, initially for 3-4 year olds, as well as for childcare between 2 and 12 years, as well as a new Early Years Family Centre building at Aston.
Flintshire’s Early Years team and officers from School Modernisation worked with schools and their governing bodies to develop schemes that would provide childcare for early years and wrap around childcare for local children.
Flintshire’s Leader and Cabinet member for Education, Welsh Language, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Ian Roberts, said:
“This unique approach meant that we listened to what parents wanted and we were able to create a seamless pathway of childcare and early education, helping children become familiar with teachers prior to entering education which helps their readiness for school and to minimise disruption to a child’s day by reducing travel and the number of carers.”
To date, eight schemes have been completed with the others, including a Welsh medium facility in Shotton, due to be completed by the end of the year.
Other funding has supported childcare providers across the sector including childminders, private and voluntary sector providers, maintained settings offering day care, wrap around care, holiday play schemes and out of school childcare clubs, ensuring the availability of quality childcare across the County.
Flintshire’s Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Social Services and Wellbeing, Councillor Christine Jones, said:
“This funding has been instrumental in providing essential services to our young children and their parents. We have seen lots of improvements including general refurbishment, such as painting and new carpets; improvements to play facilities including new or replacement indoor and outdoor facilities and canopies for weather protection; and new IT equipment necessary to deliver certain Welsh Government funded programmes such as the Childcare Offer, and much more. This has been true partnership at work. A big thank you to all involved.”
The Council has also worked with childcare umbrella organisations including Mudiad Meithrin, Early Years Wales, Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids’ Clubs and PACEY Cymru to ensure the development of the highest quality childcare provision. The capital works are funded through the Welsh Government Capital Grant programme to ensure the ongoing development of the early years provision in Flintshire, to enable the delivery of services that makes a difference for children and their families.