Validated local practice details

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C4EO - Child Poverty

Childcare and Community Inclusion Project (CCIP), Rotherham

Themes this local practice example relates to:

  • Early Years
  • Child Poverty
  • General resources

Priorities this local practice example relates to:

  • Improving children’s attainment through a better quality of family-based support for early learning
  • Development and delivery of effective area-wide child poverty strategies
  • Child Poverty needs assessment

Basic details

Organisation submitting example

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) Early Years and Childcare

Local authority/local area:

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) Early Years and Childcare

 

The context and rationale

Background details to your example

Rotherham MBC’s Childcare and Community Inclusion Project (CCIP) was funded by Objective One of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and was a partnership between 11 community partnerships, their local Sure Start Children’s Centres and Early Years, Childcare and Extended Services.

The project aimed to enable local people to access local services and supported them to participate in the delivery and planning of local services. It aimed particularly to engage those families who are likely to be excluded from Children’s Centres.

The project sought to:

• Strengthen families and communities by enabling families to access high quality support and information services.
• Work with vulnerable children and families to reduce health inequalities and improve educational, social and emotional development.
• Help build self esteem, independence and respect for others and raise the personal aspirations of families.
• Raise awareness of services for children and families, ensuring that families who are often excluded from services also benefit and are included in the planning stage of service delivery.
• Increase the capacity of communities and empower local people to participate in the planning and delivery of services.
• Work with vulnerable members of the community e.g. lone parents, long term unemployed, people with mental health difficulties, people recovering from drug and alcohol dependencies and people with poor literacy and numeracy skills, to raise self-esteem, build confidence, improve motivation and attitudes to learning, training and employment.

In order to access ERDF Objective One funding a thorough evaluation of need was carried out.

 

The practice

Further details about the practice

Over 260 activities and services where supported by the Childcare and Community Inclusion Project (CCIP) including:

• Childcare.
• Activities to enable parents / carers to access other activities and services.
• Initial engagement activities.
• Health and fitness activities.
• Activities to provide information to parents and carers.
• Support groups.
• Learning activities and activities for children and young people.

Whilst Sure Start Children’s Centres provided the hub of local service delivery, other local venues were used to deliver outreach activities, thus ensuring those who did not usually take part in services and activities had access to them.

 

Evidence and evaluation - making a difference to children, young people and families

Evidencing your practice has made a difference to children, young people and families

The CCIP enabled Children’s Centres to work with families as a whole by providing activities and services for children under and over the age of five. This is important to families, as it means that the whole family can be included. It also sends a powerful message that support services do not stop at age five and encourages engagement with extended services.

The CCIP provided activities and services under all five headings identified by the national evaluation of Sure Start as good practice in reaching excluded families:

• Making contact and providing information.
• Building relationships and assessing need.
• Increasing access to services by moving them closer to families.
• Providing a gateway to mainstream services.
• Providing a gateway to specialist services.

A comparison of service user contacts to the Every Child Matters outcomes they delivered identified that 52 per cent of service user contacts contributed towards ‘Making a Positive Contribution’; 23 per cent contributed towards ‘Being Healthy’; 20 per cent towards ‘Enjoy and Achieve’; and five per cent contributed towards ‘Achieving Economic Wellbeing’.

A further comparison of service user contacts to the Sure Start Children’s Centre core offer themes identified that CCIP contributed towards supporting parents; outreach and home visiting; child and family health services; integrated early education and childcare; and helping parents into employment.

1498 families were helped during the period (2007/08) through registration at a Children’s Centre with a Community Inclusion Worker as part of the CCIP. The cost of the project over the year was £663,662. The total cost of the project over a three-year period was £3,779,465.

The CCIP succeeded in its aim of enabling local people to access local services. 61 per cent of activities and services and almost 80 per cent of service user contacts came under the heading of ‘moving services closer to families’. This included providing services in different physical locations, and taking action to make services ‘feel’ more accessible to families by providing practical and psychological support to increase the uptake of services.

As CCIP was delivered, partnerships developed with other organisations and services, including the Play and Learn Bus, the Pre-School Learning Alliance, GROW (Rotherham’s women’s network), the Family Learning Team (RMBC), the Adult and Community Learning Team (RMBC), the Oral Health Department (Rotherham Primary Care Trust (PCT)), and Rotherham Women’s Refuge.

Service providers must recognise and take account of mothers’ and fathers’ high levels of anxiety and lack of confidence in the way they deliver activities and services. Having friendly and helpful staff encourages parents through the door. Having taster activities in subjects that they are interested in helps them to develop their confidence and build relationships with workers and other parents.

Experience of success and achievement helps to build mothers’ and fathers’ confidence and raise their expectations of what they and their children can achieve. Success for parents includes perceived positive changes in relation to their children, including: children are happier; children’s behaviour has improved; and the mother or father feels more able to act as a ‘good parent’.

Once trust has been established, both mothers and fathers perceive Children’s Centres as ideally placed to act as a one-stop shop to signpost and connect families to other services.

 

Sustaining and replicating your practice

Helping others to replicate your practice

Evaluation
An independent evaluation assessed the perspective of managers, staff and service users and a toolkit of evaluation resources was produced, along with a ‘Success Stories’ publication.

The evaluation found that:

• The project was effective in increasing the number of families registered at Children Centres.
• Children’s Centres with a Community Inclusion Worker were effective in reaching families from excluded groups.
• More children under five who were living in the poorest areas were engaged in the Children’s Centres.
• Local people were more able to access local services.

The practice is readily transferable to other local authority, Children’s Trust and/or service contexts.

Hot tips:
The following were very helpful to the success of the project:

• Father engagement work.
• The establishment of a Young Parents Support group.
• Consultation with young parents.
• The establishment of an Asian ladies group.
• The development of playshops.
• The development of healthy lifestyles courses.
• The establishment of ‘Play and Learn Bus’ events.

In addition:

• There needs to be capacity in the workforce and a strategic drive to ‘close the gap’.
• There needs to be capacity in Children’s Centres to carry out this work. Engaging excluded families, for example, requires dedicated worker time.
• Many of the ideas from the project can, however, be embedded with little or no extra funding.

It is also worth noting that both mothers and fathers are more likely to respond to information about a service or an activity if it is suggested by a trusted source. This could be another family member, friend, current or former service user or a statutory service such as a health visitor, school or Community Inclusion Worker.


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