Familes in Saffron Walden get surer start in life after following official opening of new children’s centre

YOUNG families, especially those who are most vulnerable, can have a surer start in life thanks to a vital new children’s hub in Saffron Walden.

Fairycroft Children’s Centre, in Fairycroft Road, was officically unveiled on Tuesday and will act as a one-stop shop for parents who need advice during those important first few years.

As one of the many Sure Start Children’s Centres commissioned by Essex County Council, the facility will be run by the Action for Children charity.

Children’s Centre cluster manager Sue Williams said: “It is a very important as it is somewhere for families to come and receive any support they feel they need.

“Saffron Walden is seen as an affluent area and it is not easy to identify families who need help.

“It is a universal service but we also need to recognise vulnerable families who need our help. It could be that a family suddenly finds that the father or mother has been made redundant – it is a different world and at that time, they are vulnerable.”

Sure Start was the cornerstone of the previous government’s drive to tackle child poverty and social exclusion, and that has continued.

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In Saffron Walden the aim is to reach over 1,500 under-5s by providing easy access to a range of community and health services such as family support, early education and childcare, and forge links for employment opportunities.

Staff will work with future parents, current parents, carers and children to help them flourish.

Activities such as crafts and cooking will run for families at the purpose-built centre, which takes up part of the Essex Cares Adult Learning Resource Centre. Staff will operate from the base and continue to provide outreach services in surrounding villages.

Mrs Williams added: “Prior to moving here we were based in many places around the town, at church halls, schools and community centres. Now we have a space that we, and the families, can call our own.

“Having that ownership is important, the parents see it as theirs, they can make decisions and get more involved.

“This is an exciting time for us and we are hoping that more families will get involved.”

• For a timetable of activities, advice or for more details, pop into the Fairycroft Children’s Centre in Saffron Walden or visit westessex.childrencentres.org