Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us Click here for details »
Lotto funding worth £199,000 for struggling families
11:10am Friday 23rd August 2013 in Echo News
SIX of the poorest wards in Southend are to receive funding to help struggling families.
The Pre-School Learning Alliance has received £199,260 from the Big Lottery Fund to develop a centre of excellence in in Southend to integrate mother and baby services and serve as a learning and activity space.
It will also provide support for professionals and volunteers in the borough. As yet it is not clear where the centre will be based, but the wards where funding will be directed are Kursaal, Milton, Shoebury, Victoria, West Shoebury and Westborough.
The centre could house a community cafe and demonstration kitchen to help parents and carers learn how to prepare healthy food for themselves and their children.
The centre will be stocked with resources, such as buggies.
Mothers will be provided with a baby starter kit from their GP with freebies and leaflets and vouchers for swimming and baby gym classes.
The aim is for children to have positive social and emotional wellbeing, a nurturing and loving family environment and healthier children.
Martin Terry, ward councillor in Westborough, said: “This is good news.
“A lot of families in my ward are living on the edge of great hardship so any resources to help families is great. I’m also fully supportive of getting children and young people into sports like swimming.”
Rachel Blatch, who runs Essex Stars cheerleading squad, based at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre, welcomed the push to get more children into sport.
She said: “Southend needs a lot more help to get children active. I know from my personal experience of sports clubs how expensive they can be. So free vouchers is a great idea.
“The reason some classes are so expensive is we have to pay to have enough qualified staff and to hire the halls.”
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said: “The development grants provide a real opportunity to bring about lasting change in the target wards of Southend.
“A Better Start targets primary intervention during children’s earliest years, which is essential if their life chances are to be improved.”
Comments are closed on this article.