Pioneering children’s centre opens

Thursday, 25 November 2010

A pioneering nursery school which also offers community children’s health services has opened in Bristol.

It is the first centre in Bristol to provide both childcare and health services for families.

Ilminster Avenue Nursery School, rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, merged with Footprints Children’s Centre in September 2010, to become a new Specialist Children’s Centre.

Ilminster Avenue Specialist Children's Centre caters for families of children up to 5 years old in Knowle, Hengrove and across South Bristol.

The partnership also offers provision for families of children from birth to 7 years old across south Bristol who have severe and complex learning difficulties.

It is the first of three such centres for Bristol to open, giving families access to health, community and education workers in the same place.

The new centre has a hydrotherapy pool, sensory room and soft play facilities, as well as a large outdoor learning area.

North Bristol NHS Trust runs the Community Children’s Health Partnership in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, in partnership with Barnardo’s.

Area Health Manager for North Bristol NHS Trust, Anne Gulliford, said: "The opening of the specialist children's centre in South Bristol has enabled the Trust's Community Children's Health Partnership and Barnardo's to deliver children's community health services in the area in which the children and their families live.

"The centre gives all clinicians involved in the care of children with complex needs, the opportunity to work in one building and work together to meet the needs of these children."

Head teacher of Ilminster Avenue Specialist Children’s Centre, Pat Rogers, said: “I am extremely proud of all that we have achieved since September.

“The new Children’s Centre building provides a high quality environment for all our families and providers.

“Staff from different disciplines and governors have worked hard to establish a shared way of working which benefits the wider community of south Bristol as well as the children and families who directly access the nursery school and children’s centre.”

Bristol City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Cllr Clare Campion-Smith, said: “Families are more likely to access support, advice and care if it is close to home.

“At Ilminster Avenue a range of experts are working together to deliver quality education, care and health services under one roof.

“This combination of specialist staff and excellent facilities will give local children an excellent start before they reach school-age.”