Top marks for centre safety

Family support worker Sue Cassidy (right) with mum Sam Hilditch and children Freddie and Sky
Family support worker Sue Cassidy (right) with mum Sam Hilditch and children Freddie and Sky

A CHILDREN’S centre has received a glowing report from a Government watchdog.

Rossmere and St Teresa’s Sure Start Children’s Centre was inspected last month by officials from Ofsted as part of its national programme.

Ofsted concluded that the centre, in Rossmere Way, Hartlepool, provides a good service with some outstanding features. The Hartlepool Borough Council-run facility for youngsters up to the age of five, provides services in health, midwifery, speech and language therapy, family support, employment and benefit advice, childminder support, play opportunities, volunteering opportunities and a community cafe.

The report says: “The centre is well-regarded in the local community and by partners and provides good services, resulting in good and improving outcomes for families in most areas. A typical comment was ‘the centre has had a massive impact on my family life. You always feel welcome and I now find I’m much better at talking to other people and to my child’.

“A very high priority is given to creating a safe environment for children and users. Safeguarding arrangements are outstanding and informed by excellent measures to ensure that all participants understand their responsibilities.”

The centre also comes in for praise for its commitment to good health.

It added: “Centre workers work well with health visitors, midwives and speech and language therapists to offer a wide range of activities to promote healthy lifestyles and well-being for children and their parents. Families learn the importance of healthy eating and the dangers of childhood obesity through short, practical, motivational courses.”

Leadership and management also receive top marks as the report said: “The centre’s manager is highly supportive and inspires staff to produce good-quality services for all users. Very close collaborative working between the children’s centre, health services, social care, local schools and the voluntary sector supports co-ordinated approaches to tackling issues.”

In conclusion, the inspectors said: “We judged that this is a good centre overall. A significant strength is the commitment from the centre and its arrangements to keep children and families safe. We judged this aspect as outstanding. The centre provides you with a very safe place where you can be sure to receive a warm, friendly welcome.”

Gill Slimings, Hartlepool Borough Council’s integration support manager, said: “This is a really positive report which is testament to the great partnership working and excellent team we have on board here.

“We will, however, not rest on our laurels and will continue to strive for further improvements.”