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The North Eden Sure Start Children's Centre in Penrith will officially open its doors next week (12:45pm, Wednesday, 12 September). Cumbria County Council and Impact Housing have worked together to develop the site next door to the Eden Rural Foyer. This has resulted in a purpose-built Sure Start Children’s Centre on the ground floor, with a range of accommodation on the floors above.
Children’s charity Barnardo’s will manage the facility on behalf of the county council, as an integrated hub for a number of agencies to all work together to offer a range of services for Cumbrian children, young people and their families.
Cumbria County Council has funded the development of 28 Children’s Centres across the county to provide support and information for parents and prospective parents.
Services within each children's centre are tailored to meet local needs and can provide direct access to, or information about, how to access the following:
- Good quality, integrated early learning and childcare
- Child and family health services
- Family support services, including support for parents and children with additional needs
- Links with Jobcentre Plus to support parents and carers who are considering employment or training leading to employment
- Drop-in sessions and other activities for children and carers.
- Support for childminder networks
- Effective links with the Children and Families Information Service, local childcare providers, out of school clubs and extended services.
Leader of Cumbria County Council, Eddie Martin, will cut the ribbon to officially open the centre at 12.45pm alongside the Chairman of Cumbria County Council, Norman Clarkson.
Councillor Martin said: "The centre will provide an important support service in Penrith and I’m pleased that, despite the difficult funding pressures, we are able to continue to work closely in partnership with Barnardo’s to make a real difference to the lives of Cumbrian children, young people and their families."
The centre manager, Rachel Head, said: "The North Eden Children's Centre in Penrith will play a vital role in the local community and we’re really proud to be part of that. The children's centre offers a variety of services for local families, in partnership with other organisations, including health, education, children's services, Eden Young Carers and East Cumbria Family Support Association.
"There will be a range of courses around parenting and family life issues, family learning and adult education courses as well as groups for children and young people who need additional support to thrive and do well."
Chief Executive of Impact Housing, Mike Muir said: “Many authorities have cut services to young people so we are particularly pleased that Cumbria County Council has continued with their commitment to children’s centres and to Foyers. Our joint project is unique in bringing together services for children and families, housing and training for young people and general needs housing in one integrated development.”