Summer News from HOPE
By the time you read this it will be July and we will be halfway through the year. How quickly the first 6 months in 2017 have gone! We have welcomed some new faces – both children and adults – to the centre and have recently had to say some goodbyes too: to Gemma who went on maternity leave and had baby Joby in April; to Gail who started work at a local care home; to Claire who decided to have some time out and to Maxine who moved to a different role as a carer. We wish them all much success and happiness in the future. We said hallo and a warm welcome to Lauren, Natasha, Kerry and Sally in Early Years; to Mickey who returned to the Admin team after having Oakley last year and to Blaise as Finance Officer. Congratulations go to Rachel, Carly and Kerry, Room Leaders of pre-school, Ladybirds and Caterpillars, respectively, on their internal promotions.
The team at Hope is one that works really hard together and we are immensely proud of what we do – but we couldn’t do it without the input of our stakeholders and community support. This is not just restricted to our work here at the Centre but also within the community and further afield. This year we will as usual be supporting local events throughout the year and have so far participated in the Speed Festival where we hosted the lost child facility in partnership with Food for Thought as a venue and also provided parking in conjunction with the organisers of the festival. The atmosphere was absolutely fantastic and we were glad as always to be part of such community events. We followed this in May with our Fashion show fundraiser in partnership with Suz Fashions of Bromyard. It was a great evening which raised over £600 and our thanks go to Suz and her customers for choosing to support us but also to everyone who attended and made is such a fun and great evening. Later in the year I will be reporting back on two more events taking place: our Golfing fundraiser on September 15th and a classical concert being run by one of our trustees later in the year. In June we are looking forward to being at the 50th Bromyard Gala and in July return to Nozstock as always to offer help with the welfare of children and provide some activities.
Children’s Centre consultation: We are commissioned by the local authority to provide services under the remit of a children’s centre – this includes things like sensory room groups, support groups, health clinics, individual family support, soft play and much more. It is vital that the community has a say in the services that are available and how the council uses its buildings. Please respond to the survey here https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/info/200207/family_support/748/childrens_centres_buildings_consultation and follow the link or drop into the centre and complete a questionnaire. By doing this you will be supporting us and making sure the council are aware of your views so please have your say by 19th July! Breaking news…. We have been invited to interview on Free radio talking about the consultation on Thursday 13th July… 100% of respondents voted a big yes to the building being used as a Children’s Centre!
Wishing you all a fabulous summer!
– Sarah Eardley, CEO, email@example.com
News from Supporting Families
We are always busy in the Family Support Team here at the Centre and the last few months have been no different. Our Family Support Worker Kayley has been with us now for just over seven months and she has been doing some fantastic work running our groups Bumps to Babies and Mucky Pups. Kayley has delivered a wide range of activities during these sessions. Bumps to babies has continued to be a popular service and we have been focussing on providing information, advice and guidance for parents on sun safety, home safety, baby first aid and childhood illnesses. We have also been opening up our sensory room during the sessions so that the babies can enjoy the scents, sounds and visual stimulation that this area offers.
Existing groups Mucky Pups has been as busy as ever with lots of families joining us for a whole host of Messy play activities including cake making, painting, water play and even playing with food items like Baked Beans and icing sugar so that the children can explore a range of textures which is so beneficial for their development.
Sian Lois Barclay has continued to provide Baby Massage and Baby Yoga sessions within the Centre which have seen so many parents and carers and their babies enjoying these wonderful sessions. Sian will continue to provide Baby yoga and baby massage in September after a one month break in August and we are so pleased that she has decided to continue to work with us.
New developments The spring term saw the introduction of our Play Zone within Oscars Café which has seen the Soft Play area and play corner being available every day of the week between 10am and 2pm. Many children and families have enjoyed playing here at the Centre and the feedback from families has been fantastic so we will continue to offer this throughout the Summer months. It has been so lovely to see so many families enjoying spending time in the café having a coffee and cake or having lunch with friends while the children are busy having lots of fun! We have purchased some new equipment with a donation from the St Peter’s Christmas Tree Festival which has been fantastic in enhancing the play zone area and our sensory room.
We have just welcomed a new member of the team, Karen Stocker who has joined us as a Family Support Worker. Karen has a wealth of experience working with children and families and is an experienced Family Support worker who has worked within the Portage service in Herefordshire and also as a contact worker. Karen will be working with us three days a week so you will see her in groups and out and about in the community.
New activities: As the Summer holidays are fast approaching it is important to mention a few changes ahead. We are pleased to announce that we will be starting to run a Bounce and Rhyme group, this service will be running from the library in Bromyard town centre working in partnership with the team from Halo who are currently running this service. Our activity timetable will be changed for the Summer holidays so please keep your eyes peeled for our Summer timetable that will be available online and in the Centre. We will be continuing to offer our Bumps to Babies group, Sensory sessions and our soft play zone in Oscars Café but Messy play on a Friday will be replaced with one off events that you can come and enjoy. We will be having a Teddy Bear’s picnic and some other outdoor activity events that you can come and join in with so let’s hope we continue to see this lovely weather!
– Heidi Mulholland, Family Support Team Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Contact Centre continues to be busy and has a waiting list for families wishing to use our facilities. One of the benefits of coming here to Hope is that we have a variety of different resources and spaces that are designed for children and families and we think that this is one reason why the children and families enjoy their visits so much. Not every visiting parent can bring toys and games with them and so we are pleased to be able to help the families in this way. We have been fortunate to have received grant help from Herefordshire Community Foundation and Cafcass that have enabled us to develop our service and provide new resources for the children attending.
Before we accept referrals at the centre, we offer all children and their families a pre-visit to familiarise themselves with the centre and avoid any nerves. The process of arranging contact can often take a lot longer than anticipated – the red tape and paperwork is quite a lot! – and we are working with colleagues in the justice system as well as inviting members of the judiciary so they have a greater understanding of what the process entails. We hope this sharing of information and transparency adds tp the quality of provision and contact sessions.
Over the next few months we are hoping to expand our service to include evening appointments and also hold an open day for professionals to come and visit our Contact Centre. Further details will be released on our website and social media nearer the time.
– Louise Galloway, Contact Centre Coordinator, email@example.com
From the beginning of this year Oscar’s cafe said goodbye to a very important and loved member of staff. For the past year or so the café was under Rachel’s management and she made the tough decision of leaving her girls and just popping downstairs to go back to early years, doing what she loves!
So far in these past couple of months Oscar’s café has been through a lot of changes, from new management, new opening times and a new menu. Our opening times are now 10am-2pm to ensure the café team has plenty of time to cook for the children in early years and also to make sure that there is always cakes and yummy treats out the front for our customers. We have added to our menu, this is so we know that there is something for everyone on there. A big Oscar’s breakfast inspired by our builders, brightly coloured lunch boxes for the kids and then for lunch, sandwiches, paninis, jacket potatoes and so much more. In the future we are planning on having themed weeks so we can introduce specials and try something a bit different.
Oscar’s has finally started to build up a regular customer base. We have our lovely mums that now have somewhere to sit and drink coffee without a worry thanks to the soft play being up every day of the week. To ensure we keep up our custom we have now new Oscar’s flyers which we plan on putting around Bromyard, handing out to customers and to whoever we find! As social media is such a big thing we are promoting our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts so that we can keep everyone update with what’s happening at Oscars. Our latest post was a photograph taken showing that Oscar’s had a surprise inspection from Environmental health – but nothing to worry about Oscar’s still managed to maintain their 5 stars for the third year running!
We are still pushing our evening events and recently Oscar’s provided a buffet for around 40 people, this consisted of homemade quiche, homemade sausage rolls, hummus dips, crisps, homemade brownies and raspberries. All of which went down amazingly! By doing this local people got to see where we are, had a chance to try some of Oscar’s amazing food and of course got to enjoy a fashion show promoting the local clothing shop “Suz Fashion’s”. We hope to carry on as we are maintaining the fresh food, wonderful customers and all the exciting things Oscar’s hopes to achieve within this next year.
Early Years at HOPE
Easter Fun Day
Thank you to all that supported us at the Easter fun day in April. We raised a grand sum of £270 that will go towards our garden project. The Early Years team enjoyed meeting old and new friends at the centre and we look forward to organising a Halloween party in Autumn.
30 Hours Funding
The 30 hour free funding scheme begins this coming September. The Early Years department are offering free places to children 3-4 years to working parents. We support the move to help working families with childcare costs and welcome show rounds and visits throughout the Summer.
We would like to congratulate Carly Roper, Rachel Cross and Kerry Wright on their successful appointment as Room Leaders. The combined wealth of knowledge, experience and passion our Room Leaders bring to their roles ensures the very best care and quality provision for all the children.
As the end of the academic year draws closer, we are proud to see some of our preschool children prepare to transition on to school. This term we had the privilege of sharing the fantastic progress our children have made to their new teachers and support staff. At the end of term, we look forward to holding a graduation event for parents and the children moving on, we wish them all the best and every success.
Highwell Open Day
During June we were delighted to be invited to Highwell Nursing home, the preschool children took part in dance and movement activities with some of the residence. All of the children and staff attended thoroughly enjoyed the event and we felt extremely proud of those who represented Hope Early Years with politeness and courtesy.
– Becky Cox, Early Years Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org