New £4.1 million specialist children’s centre opens

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A new children's centre providing health and education services to the Lawrence Weston community opened today.

The Long Cross Specialist Children’s Centre has been designed to provide a range of health facilities and learning opportunities for children from birth to 19 years.

The £4.1 million centre is situated on the site of the former Weston Park Primary and Bluebell Valley Nursery in Lawrence Weston.

It will be staffed by more than 150 teachers, learning support staff, health professionals and children’s centre workers

Around 300 families are expected to use the centre each week, in addition to those bringing children to school.

The new centre has been developed by Bristol Local Education Partnership and its construction partner, Skanska.

The primary and nursery schools have been amalgamated to form Long Cross Primary and Nursery School.

Existing buildings have been refurbished and are now linked by a new building providing housing the Four Villages Specialist Children and Family Centre.

The school and centre will benefit from a shared entrance and reception, and all the staff will have a shared staff room.

Parents will be able to access a wide range of medical services for their children provided by North Bristol NHS Trust, including occupational therapy, disability services, speech and language therapy, mental health services and physiotherapy.

The centre will provide a paediatric consulting room, facilities for midwives, pre-school provision and a crèche.

Other services available at the centre include stay and play facilities for young families, after school clubs and holiday provision, a specialist resource base for children with disabilities and support for parents such as parenting courses and careers support.

Joanna Smith, Area Health Manager for North Bristol NHS Trust, said: "Having services located on the same site means that specialist health, social care and early years support within the community are working together to im

prove health promotion and early access to care for children, young people and families. 

"The centre will provide opportunities to create effective partnership working, especially with health, to establish early diagnosis and intervention services for young children and their families."

Bristol City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, Councillor Clare Campion-Smith, said: “At the Long Cross Centre, families will benefit from improved access to a wide range of services.

"It offers a co-ordinated response to the needs of the whole family, within one building.

"Parents will be able to access a range of information, advice and support on subjects from their child’s health, to advice on their own role as parents.

"This will ultimately lead to happy, confident children who are ready to learn and enjoy school and home.”