Autumn News from HOPE
There was great excitement recently for our Halloween party with Oscar’s café busy baking lots of spooky edible delights helped out by the rest of the staff team preparing lots of equally spooky fun for the evening! We had a massive turnout and thanks to everyone who came and made it such fun! We are now looking towards Christmas and there is lots going on… but first a look back over the summer and recent events.
Our timetable of summer activities organised by Heidi and the team at Hope were all well attended and provided fun for children and families throughout the summer. The photos and comments were brilliant and it was great to see us working in partnership and getting support from so many in the local community. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our upcoming festive events… Christmas Fair December 2nd 2018 10am; family photos on 18th November for those precious pictures and memories; Christmas lunch at Oscar’s; EY and Family support group Xmas parties and one all our staff and volunteers are looking forward to – the Staff Xmas party on December 15th.
I am really pleased that our fantastic facilities are being used more and more. The team work together very well to offer families and children opportunities and activities that develop learning through play and that others ask us for. We know that many of you who attend also gain great benefit from spending time with other carers and parents and making new friends and socialising. All events and activities can be found on our website, twitter and other social media. At a recent meeting at St Peters with Kevin and Kate, we had the opportunity of seeing some of the children who had attended here years ago as well as those who had just started. It was great to see them progressing so well as are the other children at our local primary schools.
Many of you will have participated in the recent Herefordshire County Council consultations about Children Centre buildings in July and then the most recent one during August and September about Bromyard Children’s Centre reach area services. Thanks to everyone who was interviewed on the radio when they visited and to everyone who completed a survey. The results of the latest consultation are now out and Heidi and I will be producing a report to highlight the answers and feedback that was given. This should be available over the next couple of weeks. Suffice to say there was overwhelming support for services to continue and especially as they are currently delivered. The harsh reality however is that the local authority is under much pressure to reduce their costs whilst still meeting their statutory targets. Unfortunately this puts under threat much of what is currently available and so we will have to await the outcome of a Council meeting in Hereford in November to know what the plans are for after March 2018.
In the last newsletter we mentioned some successful fundraiser events by local businesses and we were delighted once again to be selected by Hills Number Plates as their charity of choice. In September their Golf fundraiser raised £1200 some of which has gone towards the decoration of the Family Room and the purchase of new resources. I hope you all like it! We would also like to extend a huge thanks to Theo’s mum and dad who were winners at a recent awards event for their store in Fromes Hill and have also chosen us to receive £500!
This sort of support is a great motivator for all of us who work here and really helps in these lean times. If you are a local business owner and would like to support us either by running a fundraising event, volunteering or donating please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Of course support comes in many forms and I would like to thank everyone who helps here and supports our community. Volunteers continue to play an important part of our centre and we also continue to offer adults support with parenting, IT and literacy. We could not do it without any of them. As well as our loyal and dedicated volunteers I would like to say a huge thanks to the staff team. The events and the ideas all come from them and reflect their determination and desire to offer a service second to none to everyone involved at the centre. We would also like to thank the High Sheriff who visited us with her husband in August and acknowledge the support from the Lloyds Bank team who came and helped around the gardens on their Give and Gain day ably led by Fiona Legge.
Finally I just would like to wish some of our leavers the best of their luck on their travels – literally. Michaela has decided to go off on her travels with Dan in the near future and so will be leaving us in November as will Gemma from Early Years. Since I last wrote we have said good bye to Carys who returned to her home town of Swansea. We’d like to congratulate Becky and her family on the birth of Rupert and welcome Carri and Shauna to the team in Admin and to Kris and Rea in the Contact Centre team. Good luck to everyone!
- Sarah Eardley, CEO, email@example.com
Oscar’s Café has had a great summer supporting the Centre at the weekend with events and also during the activity days that took place as well as the more recent Halloween Party. Our food and lunches are all freshly prepared and we don’t buy in any of the food we serve to our customers. All the Early Years children that have their lunches here are eating freshly prepared food from the kitchen. Each term we create a new menu for the children and also try a range of occasional specials for the public who come for lunch or coffee and cake. If you are a Friend of Hope don’t forget to present your card to get a 10% discount on all food and drinks. If you’re not but would like to be please email: Fiona.firstname.lastname@example.org or ask in reception about joining.
We are really pleased with the response to the Play Zone upstairs in the café. All the feedback has been positive and we know it’s really popular with both the children and the parents/carers who attend as well as Early Years children who come up every day. We’ve had a lot of involvement with the Nursery this summer including packed lunches for 30 children so they were able to go out for the day to New Bridge Farm and we’ve also done a number of buffets for them to celebrate including Pre-school graduation and Halloween.
There’s lots to look forward to as we get in to the Christmas spirit: we hope you will have seen the posters advertising Christmas lunches on 12th & 13th December. This year there is a choice of Roast Turkey or Pork or a Nut Roast followed by a choice of 3 puddings. We hope to see as many of you there as possible all there so please book to avoid disappointment.
Sadly by the time Christmas comes Michaela will have left us to take up a promotion at the pub as she prepares for her travels in the future. We’d all like to say how much she will be missed and after just over 2 years working here are proud of all she’s achieved! We hope to recruit some new faces to the team very soon and will keep you posted.
News from Supporting Families
What a fantastic summer it’s been in the Supporting Families team! So many of you joined us for our Summer events that we timetabled in during the summer holidays. To start things off we organised a Beach Party that took place in our Family room Garden. Over 35 children and their families joined us for an action packed party on the ‘sea’. Activities included sand play, fishing, water play, sensory play, and a photo opportunity ‘under the sea’. The morning ended with Ice creams from the Beach Kiosk that was made by Karen our family support worker who had the opportunity to really showcase her creative talents. Kayley thoroughly enjoyed serving you all from the fantastic mock kiosk!
We had another visit this summer from Creature Class Animal encounters that was very well attended and the children had the opportunity to learn all about the animals. We had a spider, baby meerkats, a gerbil and a snake to name but a few. There were laughs along the way as one of the tortoises managed to escape but was found later on in the day happily eating away at the grass in the preschool garden.
We also hosted our very first Transport event that was attended by the local Fire Brigade, Police and Ambulance service. Alexander and Duncan very kindly provided us with a tractor for the day and Kevin the local Ice Cream man popped along to serve some delicious ice-cream. It was a fantastic morning with record numbers of families coming along to enjoy exploring the vehicles and having a coffee and cake in Oscar’s café. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported the event.
The summer also saw the launch of Bounce and Rhyme at Bromyard Library. The Bookstart Bear joined us for the event and children and families had the opportunity to meet the bear and have a photo with her. We are really excited to be running this service in the Centre of Bromyard so that we can make sure our service is accessible to as many people as possible in our community. Bounce and Rhyme is on every Friday 10:30am-11:15am so come and join us for music, rhymes and songs.
We put on a Family Fun day in early September where we had a bouncy castle, face painter, professional photographer and a whole host of other activities on offer for families. The day went really well and was enjoyed by all. We used the event to support the Children’s centre consultation that Hereford Council had opened which will be used to inform how Children’s centre services will be run in the future in the area. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the consultation.
The Autumn term has been so busy with the team supporting families out and about in the community. Alongside this we have also started running an afternoon group after consulting with our service users. Our new group Stay, Play and Learn is on every Monday 1:30pm-2:30pm in term time. We want to welcome Sarah Bethell to the team who you will see running these sessions, Sarah has previously worked in the EY department here at HOPE and is full of fun, creative ideas for the group.
We have been renovating our Family room where our groups run from; we have had the room painted and are purchasing some new equipment and soft furnishings. We have been able to do this using money from Adrian’s Golf Fundraiser that took place in September. We would like to say a big thank you again to Adrian and his supporters as this is going to be so beneficial for the families that use this space.
We are very much on the countdown to Christmas now and we are busy planning our Christmas party that will take place on Monday 11th December. We will have a Santa’s grotto, party food and disco and Christmas crafts. Please call the centre to book your place.
- Heidi Mulholland, Family Support Team Coordinator, email@example.com
The Admin team continues to be the backbone to the many services and activities at the Centre from supporting the internal team to ensuring visitors to the centre are warmly welcomed and much more. Earlier this year we said a temporary goodbye to Becky Hill who left on maternity leave and in her place welcomed Carri Merrell as her maternity cover. More recently, Shauna Vowles joined the department as Monitoring & Information Administrator. Her role focuses on evidencing the work here and also ensuring people know about us via social media. We would like to congratulate both on their appointments and Becky and Paul on the birth of baby Rupert.
Following our ISO certification last year we are continuing to work towards ensuring that the quality policy and standards set following our initial assessment are met. This is a sizeable piece of work that is ongoing and we are very pleased that our first 6 monthly audit was a great success. We are due for re-accreditation towards the end of January 2018 and hope to continue the high standards set.
Our policies and procedures are reviewed at least every 12 months to ensure our commitment to quality and efficiency. Together with this we are keen to ensure our continuous improvement in customer satisfaction and will shortly be handing out a snapshot survey to all of those who attend to gain feedback on the centre.
The redesign of our reception area earlier in the year has met with plenty of compliments, provides a professional appearance and is clearer to visitors attending the centre. Thanks to everyone who contributed.
- Anna Beddows, Admin Team leader/H&S/HR Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Child Contact Centre continues to support separated families during those sometimes difficult periods following a family breakdown, by offering a safe, neutral place for visits between children and their non- resident parent. We are extremely fortunate to be able to offer two specific child focused rooms for the contact sessions to take place in. These rooms have attached outside spaces for the child to explore and enjoy too, with lots of indoors activities and craft materials for those colder days!
We have been increasingly busy in the contact centre lately and I am pleased to announce that we have recruited four new contact supervisors which will enable us to offer even more contact sessions for children to spend quality time with their non-resident parent.
Staff have been very busy outside of work hours too with many achievements gained, including recent graduations for Sarah Bethell, Kris Long and myself. The contact workers have also been busy updating their First Aid skills to level 3 with defibrillator training. Our accrediting body also sets very high standards of service and provides training packages for the staff to complete to ensure that we all deliver a high level of provision, some of which have recently been completed and are ongoing for other members of the team that have been here longer.
Through some fundraising Family Support have decorated the Family room and updated the furniture and toys, and we are currently planning some improvements to the gardens soon. Keep posted for further updates on this!
- Louise Galloway, Contact Centre Coordinator, email@example.com
On the 6th of October the nursery and preschool had the pleasure of visiting Newbridge Farm, Ledbury. The children enjoyed feeding and petting the farm animals, taking a ride on the tractor and had much fun exploring the outdoor equipment. The staff were extremely proud of all the children and the whole day was a great success.
On the 30th of October over 40 children and their families experienced a fun packed evening with arts and crafts, games and face painting to celebrate Halloween at our Halloween Party. We would like to thank all those who supported the event, tickets sold out fast and all proceeds will go on to support the charity.
We were delighted to receive our Active for Kids Voucher order on the 31st October. Thank you again for all your support, the whole department has benefited from some lovely new resources and equipment.
The preschool children start their weekly Woodland Walk at the Queen Elizabeth High School this November. The sessions are designed to provide opportunities to learn through experiences within a forestry environment and develop inquisitive and positive relationships with their natural world.
30 Hours Funding
We have nearly reached the end of our first term offering the 30 hours funding for 3 and 4 year olds. For those families hoping to qualify from January 2018, complete your application via the link below and return your DERN code, National Insurance number and proof of Child’s DOB to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.orgDeputy Manager, by Friday 15/12/17. Applications that haven’t been validated before 31st December 2017 will not qualify for a January 2018 start. For more information about funded places for 2, 3 and 4 year olds at the nursery, please contact Charlotte Hodges.
Congratulations to Sally Price on the successful completion of her level 3 in Childcare and Education.
At the end of November Gemma Lloyd will be taking up her new role within the NHS and will not be returning after her maternity leave ends. We wish her all the best and good luck with the future.
- Becky Cox, Early Years Manager, email@example.com