Every child matters - Galbraith


Sure Start Scotland, the Government initiative to give every child a positive start in life, is to receive funding of £14 million next year, Minister for Children and Education Sam Galbraith announced today.

Highlighting the key role of Sure Start Scotland in helping to meet Ministers' social justice objectives, which include giving every child the best start in life, he said:

"Sure Start Scotland is about about breaking cycles of deprivation. Its aim is to support parents and their children from the first weeks of life. We are determined to tackle the inequalities in health and social development seen in children from different backgrounds even by the age of three, so that every child fully benefits from pre-school education and care."

Mr Galbraith was speaking during a visit to Drumchapel Family Learning Centre, accompanied by Susan Deacon, Minister for Health and Community Care. The centre is being funded through Sure Start Scotland.

Every council is to receive increased resources for Sure Start Scotland next year. Glasgow City Council, for example, will receive nearly £2.5 million to expand family centres and other projects to the benefit of families with very young children, almost 50% more than this year's £1.7 million grant.

The City of Edinburgh Council will receive £1.1 million next year, compared with £735,000 this year, while Dundee City's grant will rise from £341,000 to £508,000 in 2000-01.*

Sure Start Scotland funding is also targeted at rural areas, where innovative approaches including mobile services will provide support for families who might otherwise be geographically isolated. Most rural local authorities will next year receive 50 per cent more grant than this year.

Sam Galbraith added:

"Sure Start Scotland supports parent and child by providing opportunities: opportunities to stimulate children's play, opportunities to allow parents to meet and support each other in bringing up children, and build their confidence and skills, as well as access to advice on health issues. More confident adults make more confident parents.

"We have allocated £42 million to this initiative over three years. Local authorities have been asked to work with health bodies and the voluntary sector to plan and deliver support. They are targeting support to areas of greatest need and developing local solutions to local needs. We want to build on existing facilities, providing more places or adding support for parents to childcare places. This is not about bricks and mortar - it's about real support to families.

"The Drumchapel Family Learning Centre, based in the High School, is an excellent example of what is happening across Scotland. The staff team includes childcare workers, a health visitor and a family support worker. It aims to provide open access to the local community."

Health promotion is a vital component of Sure Start Scotland. Minister for Health and Community Care Susan Deacon said:

"I believe that one of the defining features of a fair and just society is good health. And the development of lifelong good health starts with the mother and her child. That is why developing and expanding these family centres is such an important step forward in improving health in communities which need our help and support the most.

"We need to target help - and deliver health services - where they are needed most. Close to home. Convenient for patients. And tailored around individual needs. Involving health visitors in the work of family centres is a perfect example of that principal.

"This is one strand of our concerted drive to improve the health of mothers and babies from through pregnancy and beyond. We are already reviewing the role of community nurses and midwives to see if they can play a greater role in providing practical health advice to mothers and young children. And next Spring will see the launch of a new cutting-edge demonstration project 'Starting Well' aimed at improving child health and funded by the Executive."

News Release: SE1390/1999
22 Nov 1999