Thumbs up for children's centre

A NEW children's centre to help families in the Felixstowe area has been officially opened.

A NEW children's centre to help families in the Felixstowe area has been officially opened.

Sea Breeze Children's Centre - part of a £1.5 million investment in childcare in the resort - will run a wide variety of services to support parents and youngsters.

County councillor Patricia O'Brien, portfolio holder for children and young people, said: “The development of Sea Breeze in Felixstowe is an excellent facility for families and children in and around the area.

“We aim to provide a 'one stop shop' for families, somewhere they can access information on the wide range of services available to them.

“Most people do not realise that many of the services are free, so it's really important for families with children under five, to contact their local children's centre to find out about the activities.”

Mother of two, Jannine Rushby said: “When I first heard of the children's centres I was worried about coming but from the minute I stepped through the door I was made to feel welcome and at home.

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“My son loves it and the centre and their staff have made my life in general a lot easier.

“I really wouldn't know what to do if their services were not here now.”

The county council has opened 35 children's centres with government funding under the Sure Start programme and its work is being used around the country as a model for others to follow.

Sea Breeze in Beach Station Road is a sister to the Oaks Children's Centre, at Grange Primary School, opened earlier this year.

It provides childcare with 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.

It will also offer Stay and Play sessions and a Baby Chimes group, and support for children and parents with additional needs.

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.

Have the children centres helped you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail