Childcare boost for resort

A NEW children's centre is set to open in Felixstowe - the latest phase of a £1.5 million investment in childcare in the seaside town.

A NEW children's centre is set to open in Felixstowe - the latest phase of a £1.5 million investment in childcare in the seaside town.

Sea Breeze Children's Centre, in Beach Station Road, will offer high quality information, support and services to families with children.

The centre was funded by a government grant from the Sure Start Unit through Suffolk County Council and the Department of Children, Schools and Families.

It is part of a growing network of similar facilities in Suffolk providing childcare alongside early learning for young children, health services, family support, a base for childminders and help into employment, including links with Jobcentre Plus and the library.

The centre has already created jobs for four people.

Services already on offer at Sea Breeze are Stay and Play sessions and Baby Chimes.

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Along with the Oaks Children's Centre, which opened earlier this summer on the Grange Primary School site, Sea Breeze will offer a childminding network, training facilities, child and family health services, family support and a parental outreach service.

It will also support children and parents with additional needs and work together with Felixstowe Opportunity Group and Portage.

Manager Jenny Clarke-Pearson said: “Children's centres do not have a catchment area and services are available for all families with children under five and are here for the whole community.

“In addition to the family support outreach work the two Felixstowe based children's centres already do, we continue to provide a number of free services and groups to families in various locations across the area.”

County councillor Patricia O'Brien, who will open the centre next Thursday , said the aim was to provide a “one stop shop” for families where children can play, socialise, learn and be cared for, while parents get support they need.

In addition to education and support, some offer baby massage, cookery courses, exercise classes, adult education courses, credit unions, DVD hire and much more. Most services are free, but there are some charges such as childcare for working parents.

Give us your views on children's centres - write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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