£550k investment in young children and their families
, 26 October 2012
Young children and their families are to benefit from a new grants programme unveiled by Hampshire County Council this week.
The Young Children's Community Support Grant (YCCSG) programme was agreed by Councillor Roy Perry, Hampshire County Council's Executive member for Children's Services at his decision day on Tuesday, 23 October.
Councillor Perry said: "We know from information collected on children in their first year in school just how important support services for young children are in giving them the best possible start in life to support their development before they start school. In Hampshire the gap in terms of communication language and literacy development as well as social skills is narrowing for young children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers and this is almost certainly down to the impact of support services for young children including support available through children's centres. These grants will enhance provision by enabling voluntary sector organisations to develop innovative, sustainable support services for young children which complement those being provided by Children's Centres."
The programme will take over from, and, widen support previously available through the Children's Services Children's Centre grants programme established in May this year to help support community schemes run by previous providers of Children's Centre Services following the re-organisation of Children's Centre services. A total of £150,000 was set aside for organisations wishing to apply for that funding for projects which, while not part of the core offer of Children's Centres, complemented Children's Centre services and demonstrated they helped improve outcomes for young children and their families.
At the decision day Councillor Perry noted grants awarded under that scheme totalling £60,641. The recipients are:
- £34,641 - The Carroll Centre in Winchester to support its community cafe, job club, parent support, crèche, art and family play schemes and volunteers programme
- £26,000 - Park Families in Havant to support its speech and language group crèche, healthy eating project and parent participation scheme
The new YCCSG scheme replaces the Children's Services Children's Centre Grants scheme and is an enhancement of that programme. It aims to support wider provision for children under 5 and their families/carers and will be available to any community organisation which can demonstrate that the services it provides make a tangible difference to the lives of young children and their families. Applicants will also have to show their projects do not duplicate existing services provided by Children's Centres but complement and promote those services. Organisations bidding for funding under the new programme will also have to show they are working in partnership with Children's Centres.
A total of £200,000 will be available this financial year with a potential £350,000 being available in 2013/14 subject to confirmation by the county council in February 2013.
Councillor Perry added: "As I made clear when the management of our Children's Centres was re-organised the County Council remains committed to supporting vulnerable young children and their families by working in partnership with the voluntary sector. It is our aim to ensure there are a range of sustainable services meeting community needs which make a real difference to the lives of young children and their families.
"The creation of the Young Children's Community Grants programme is another mark of that commitment and the embodiment of the promise I made at the time of the re-organisation of Children's Centres that we would re-invest additional savings which resulted from that re-organisation back into Children's Centre related services. This is the advantage of having carried out the re-organisation of the management of the centres. We are now able to reinvest the money saved in doing that, directly into services for young children.
"This new grant programme will prioritise organisations which have a focus on working in partnership with Children's Centres to increase the engagement, and participation of families, and can demonstrate they enhance preventative services by developing innovative schemes to meet local needs."