Luton’s Flying Start Children’s Centre update

It is now over two years since children’s centres in Luton moved to be part of Luton Council under the Flying Start umbrella. During these two years there has been a period of settling in and readjustment followed by a period of sorting out processes/procedures and finally moving to a period when our children’s centre teams are well embedded and performing well (a perfect example of Bruce Tuckman’s Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing model).

There are currently 17,087 children under-fives registered with Luton’s Flying Start Children’s Centre. Between October and December 2018 92% of pregnant women in Luton accessed an ante-natal service delivered in our children’s centres and 68% of all new babies born in Luton were brought along by their parents to attend a service delivered at one of the children’s centres.

On a weekly basis parents can access a range of both universal services (open to all) and targeted services (for which criteria apply). Timetables with details of all the services offered by Luton’s Flying Start Children’s Centre (FSCC) can be found on our website: https://www.flyingstartluton.com/childrenscentres/

In addition our Flying Start Family Workers provide support for families who need extra help to tackle any emerging needs. During the past six months we have been focusing on key areas of development for Luton’s Flying Start Children’s Centre in particular developing the offer for families of children with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND) and moving to a Whole Family model of working. Each Flying Start Children’s Centre neighbourhood team has an SEND champion. These champions have a role to support families who have a child with SEND and work closely with the Luton Council Special Educational Needs Service and the Edwin Lobo Centre.

Flying Start Central run two groups for families with children with SEND: the Opportunity Group which is a supported play session providing opportunities for children and parents to explore familiar and new opportunities alongside staff, and the Little Explorers Group which encourages children to explore and understand their environment themselves and with others through sensory experiences (hearing, taste, touch, smell and vision).

The primary focus for children’s centres is on families with children under the age of five, but often families have older children and other adults living in the family home. Adopting a whole family approach means that our Flying Start Children’s Centre Family Workers can help families to address their underlying problems as a whole, taking into account the issues faced by all members of the family. Whole family working means working with the  family in a way which recognises that they interact and influence each other, rather than viewing them as individuals with a problem. FSCC Family Workers work in partnerships with families recognising and promoting resilience and helping them to build their capabilities.

And finally…. we are very keen to find out what Luton parents think about the services they access at our Flying Start Children’s Centre. To listen to as many views as possible, we will be running an on-line survey from 18th February to 18th March 2019 to find out how satisfied parents/carers are with services we provide. Look out for the on-line survey on the Consultations page of the Luton Borough Council website.  We want to get as many children’s centre users as possible to complete the survey and provide us with feedback which will help us to understand what services parents and children value, and enable us to make adjustments to services where needed.

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