Nottingham City Council will be out and about visiting local communities during August, speaking to local families and telling them about a whole range of useful and often free services available to them. The activity has been timed to reach parents at a time when many of them will be looking after children on their summer break from school.

To target parents who are caring for children during the summer break, four dates in August have been chosen for the days of engagement. Staff from the council’s Families Information Service who provide much needed advice for families, Children’s Centre staff and colleagues from the Fostering & Adoption Services will be joined on some of the days by partners Small Steps, Big Changes, a partnership between Nottingham City Council, health partners, voluntary organisations and parents and families in Arboretum, Aspley, Bulwell and St Ann’s communities.

One of the aims of the activity is to raise awareness of free childcare places for two year olds, a national scheme which aims to help parents get back to work and training sooner by giving them access to free quality childcare.  In England all three and four year olds are entitled to up to 15 hours per week of free childcare at Ofsted-registered childcare settings, such as day nurseries, childminders and playgroups. This is also a statutory entitlement for all eligible two year olds.

More than 10,000 children in Nottingham have accessed free Early Learning places since the scheme started in 2006 but in some areas of the city, uptake hasn’t been as high as expected. The four dates in August have been chosen specifically to target these areas and staff from Nottingham City Council will be on hand to help potentially eligible parents to sign-up to the scheme.

As well as speaking to parents about where they can get their 15 hours of free childcare in the city, the Families Information Service will be able to provide free information, advice and guidance about other services for children, young people and their families in Nottingham. This includes information about local children’s centres and play and youth activities, guidance on parenting skills training, services for children with disabilities or special educational needs and choosing a school.

Staff will also be available to talk to parents about local children’s centres where they can find free things to do during the day and at weekend and in school holidays.  Also on hand will be colleagues from Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust who work in partnership with Nottingham City Council to deliver Brushing Buddies, a scheme which aims to help primary school children and their families take better care of their dental health.

Nottingham, City Council teams will also be joined by partners from Small Steps Big Changes (SSBC) a Big Lottery funded initiative being led by Nottingham City Care Partnership. SSBC is a programme of activities designed to give every child the best start in life. The programme works alongside 0-3 year olds, their parents and communities in Arboretum, Aspley, Bulwell and St Ann’s. All SSBC activities focus on supporting children and families with nutrition, communication and language development and social and emotional development.

Colleagues from Nottingham City Council’s Fostering & Adoption team will be coming along to share the message that foster carers and adoptive parents come from a wide range of backgrounds. They will be on hand to answer questions from people who are interested in sharing their time and their family home with a child in need of care in the city.

The activities are planned around busy market areas in Clifton, St Ann’s, Bulwell and Hyson Green and parents are encouraged to look out for the event gazebo and drop in to chat with the staff and other parents.

Cllr David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Early Intervention and Early Years, said,

“Nottingham City Council is committed to giving children opportunities to learn and socialise from a young age. We know that in some areas of the city, the uptake of free childcare places is lower and we want to work hard with our partners to improve this.

“We know that reading and learning from a young age is really beneficial for children but parents also benefit from good childcare too by being able to return to work, or to education and training.

“The four activity days are our opportunity to bring a number of really useful and important services together in one place where we can speak to families about the wide range of excellent activities, support and childcare places in their area.”

The roadshow will take place in August and will visit the following communities:

  • Tuesday 2 August – Bulwell Market
  • Tuesday 9 August – St Ann’s Market, Robin Hood Chase (near Valley Centre)
  • Wednesday 17 August – Hyson Green Market, Radford Road (near tram stop and ASDA)
  • Friday 26 August – Clifton Market, Southchurch Drive (opposite Library and Cornerstone)