Housing association's nursery helps tenants access local jobs market
Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Health
Housing association's nursery helping tenants access local jobs market
One of the first housing associations in the country to run a family centre and nursery as part of the services it provides to tenants has received a 100% customer satisfaction rating.
Essex-based Estuary Housing Association opened the Surestart children's centre on the Woodgrange Drive Estate in Southend-on-Sea in 2008. It boasts an 80-place day care nursery, which is open from 8am to 6pm five days a week for children up to the age of five.
The centre provides a lifeline for Estuary tenants seeking to access the local jobs market as well as offering a range of services to help young parents.
In addition to the nursery, it also houses a training/ICT centre, multi-purpose space for family and community services and a contact office foe residents living on the estate.
A dedicated team provide activities and support for families with young children, help people access work, and training opportunities. Partnership work is going from strength to strength.
The centre has also teamed up with health visitors who offer antenatal and baby clinics for new mums while Job Centre Plus holds weekly drop-in sessions, as well as appointments at the centre. Training sessions on offer include parenting, basic computer skills, food hygiene and anger management.
Charlotte Dickens, Estuary's Head of Community Development, said: “Since opening its doors in 2008 the family centre has been providing a number of excellent services to families and the community and it has been a great opportunity for to us to involve our residents in the work that we do. Staff at the centre have working closely with the community and are able to signpost people towards initiatives they may want to get involved with.”
“Users of the centre are often asked to provide feedback to Estuary staff about the services provided. We use this feedback to ensure that we continually expand these services and ensure that the many people using the centre continue to get a real benefit from it.”
A recent report by the Centre for London called for housing associations to offer nursery care to help their tenants find work.
Its research found that around one in three of all households living in London council and housing association homes are headed by a single parent and only a third of those are in employment. The report argued that a key factor explaining the low rate of employment is the difficulty of finding flexible and affordable childcare.