Child centres welcome back families with face-to-face activities after a long lockdown - column by Councillor Patricia Bradwell, deputy leader of Lincolnshire County Council

It is well known that a child’s experiences in their early years can have a major influence on their later life.

It's back to normal contact at Children's Centres.
It's back to normal contact at Children's Centres.

So I am delighted to see that families are again able to participate in face-to-face activities at our 48 children’s centres, including those in Sleaford, Caythorpe and Billinghay.

Children’s centres are designed to support all families with children from birth to five, and all are free to join.

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You are welcome at any children’s centre and each offers a variety of activities, free drop-in sessions and helpful services.

Any adult caring for a child can access the centres, including grandparents, foster carers and child minders.

Not only can children’s centres help give your child a great start in life, but they also offer fantastic support for parents and carers.

Currently, an average of 350 early years sessions are being delivered each week, including support for vulnerable families and skill development activities for parents.

Returning activities include popular sessions such as Learning Through Play and Let’s Get Active, and the sessions have been positively received by families, and attendance is beginning to return to pre-Covid levels.

Some centres provide services in one location, while others use community halls, libraries and other places that are easy for people to access.

All centres offer child and family health services; advice and information for families; childcare and early education; support for parents on a range of issues; training and employment advice; and outreach services to children and families not attending the centre.

Each centre also offers additional services and activities tailored to the needs of the community.

All centres involve parents in planning their activities, providing an opportunity to make new friends and share experiences.

Staff have done a great job during the pandemic, continuing to deliver vital support during what has been a very difficult period, often through the use of digital technology.

However, we are very pleased to be welcoming families back for face-to-face activities and hope to see attendance growing over the coming months as people become more confident about getting out and about once again.

So, if you are a parent or carer with a young child, make sure you find out what your local children’s centre has to offer and get involved.

You can find further information on your nearest children’s centre and what services and activities are available on the council’s website at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/childrenscentres