A children's centre is to hold an open day in a bid to make more parents aware of what it has to offer – and that it even exists.
Staff at Uxbridge Children’s Centre say while take-up of its services has been quite good, it could be a lot better.
“We need people to realise that this is a really vital asset in their community – and to use it,” said Michelle Bird, an administration assistant and receptionist at the new centre in Whitehall Road, who said some parents were unaware the centre was there or, because it is tucked into a corner of Whitehall School playing fields, that it is a part of that school.
Children’s centres offer a ‘one-stop’ shop for a range of family needs, ranging from baby weaning and breast-feeding to adult education.
They offer advice, but also support, in areas such as child care, respite child care, including for the children of armed services personnel, school preparation training for children through ‘Come And Play’ sessions, and fun activities that parents might be wary of trying at home, such as ‘Messy Play’, complete with plenty of paint.
“A lot of people ask: ‘What’s the catch?’,” said Michelle.
“People sometimes think there is a lot of paperwork or it is going to cost a lot of money. It doesn’t.
“We just need a few bits of information on a registration sheet and that is it.”
Crucially, Hillingdon Council children’s centres are available to children up to the age of five years old – when they are expected to go to primary school – provided the family lives in the borough. The centres also carry information about a scheme that provides up to 15 hours per week free childcare for qualifying families, for a child under two years old.
Other services on offer include baby and child health clinics, family counselling, stopping smoking and much more.
The open day is on Tuesday, December 9, from 9.30am-noon, with craft making from 10am and a Christmas themed ‘Sing and Sign’ session at 11.15 for about 35 minutes.
The centre is in Whitehall Road, UB8 2DQ, but parking is highly restricted in the area. However, it is a short walk from Uxbridge High Street, via Vine Street and Cricket Field Road, then on the footpath past the Hillingdon Council parking structure and on to Whitehall Road. Alternatively, follow the signs for Brunel University.
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