Friday 1 August 2014

Sure Start Centres

Being a mum is an exciting, scary, bewildering experience for all mums whether your a first time mum or not! Sometimes there are questions you want to ask or things you would like help with but are not quite sure where to go. 

When I had James I found myself feeling quite lonely. Although I still had my friends I felt that as they didn't have kids we were leading quite different lives and sometimes there were things I wanted to talk to someone about but felt they perhaps wouldn't understand. 

Then I found my local Sure start centre!
Sure start offer a great range of helpful and informative classes as well as stay and play sessions, breast feeding support, dads support groups and so much more! 
I met lots of new mums who new exactly how I felt. It was a place I could go and meet other parents and learn at the same time!

So when I had Evelyn I new I wanted to return to our local sure start centre and was thrilled when I found out they did a baby massage course! I had done 1 class of baby massage with James at the sure start (as part of a baby course) and he loved it so I really wanted to take Evelyn on this 5 week course! She loves it!!

Here she is chilling after her baby massage.

The courses at the Sure start centre are free although you can leave a donation if you choose when signing in and out. At the baby massage course you are provided with everything you need including a little bottle of oil to use and a handy booklet which details all of the massage moves you are taught so you can go home and do them. 

It has been great getting out and meeting other parents with babies and we have just signed up for a "Baby and Me" course which starts in September as well.

Here are some quotes from other parents who have visited their local sure start centres...

"My local Sure Start centre has been a fantastic place to meet other first time mums, get help with breastfeeding and providing Jasper and I with a busy social life! The staff are lovely and there are loads of great activities and classes on offer." Charlotte from Penistone, Sheffield.

"I wouldn't be still breastfeeding if it wasn't for a volunteer at our centre. She sat me down n made me a drink n just helped me out I was only there to register willow and she sat with me for over an hour, also love the sensory room and so does willow" Steph from Partington.

"I used to visit a sure start centre when I was a single mum of 2 little boys living in Hertford and didn't know many people,I made friends,my children loved it and the staff were very friendly and helpful." Paula from Stevenage

 "My local sure start centre is great, got several great groups which has helped me get to know others with children as I knew no one in the area. And the staff are really helpful and friendly." Emma from Chippenham, Wiltshire.

" I used sure start when I had Jack and it was a fab way to meet new mums and for Jack to socialise with other children, it helped his speech and social skills loads" Abi from Honington, Norfolk

"My local Sure Start holds a Baby Bistro every month. Withy first daughter, it saved me from breast feeding insanity. This time around, it's helped me help others as well as connect with local mums. I genuinely don't know what I would have done without it first time."  Carla from Shaw & Crompton, Oldham.

 "I used to be a journalist and interviewed the then Education Minister, David Blunkett, when Surestart was launched. It's only now, all these years later with a baby of my own, that I realise the impact they have had. It's an oasis of calm for stressed mums with staff and peer support on everything from fun play to breastfeeding. I chilled with relaxation sessions while pregnant, went to antenatal classes and even registered my daughter's birth there this week. Surestart centres are at the heart of the community for families like mine with young children. Absolutely invaluable!" Liz from Prestwich, Manchester.

The centres are open to all parents, carers and children and many of the services are free. You can get help and advice on child and family health, parenting, money, training and employment.

Have you ever tried a Sure Start Centre before? What are your thoughts on them? 



  1. Your opening sentence describes me perfectly, everything about it x

  2. I would love it if there were more places like this but the one i did go to locally I felt a bit out of it. It felt like others already knew each other or had formed their own groups of friends already so I didn't return very often unfortunately :(. Glad to hear you've had a good experience though xx


  3. I know that there's been a fair bit of controversy around Sure Start centres, but in my view they're fantastic. A vital resource for the community.

  4. I have good and bad opinions of them TBH. They were great when my boys were small, however, they closed a lot of the independent mum and baby groups as people were going to the free sure start ones and then when the funding cut came into place there was a BIG gap.

  5. They sound fantastic! What a great resource! :)

  6. I've never really used Sure Start but they sound like a great resource for parents x

  7. I have not really used them as it just did not suit us .x

  8. SureStart centres are great - they only started up when our twins were little, wish they had existed when I had my elder two!

  9. SureStart centres sound great, I have never heard of them before though x

  10. Our baby weighing venue is a sure start centre, they of lots of things and the staff are great x

  11. I've never heard of Sure Start before...they sound great though.

  12. I never used Sure Start because they weren't around when I had my first (well not that I can remember anyway) and I worked full time when I had the next two. By the time I became a stay at home mum they were both at nursery or school so we never went. I walk past most days and have noticed they really do offer a lot and I have friends who couldn't do without them :)

  13. My local Sure Start centre was a lifeline to me and other parents but sadly Sheffield City Council decided to close it down.