A LIFE-CHANGING children’s centre has had praise heaped on it in its first Ofsted report.
Ash Green Children’s Centre in Mixenden, Halifax, was rated as good overall by inspectors, with several aspects graded outstanding.
Tina Burke, who has managed it since it opened seven years ago, put its success down to a partnership approach and the dedication of staff.
“It is a testament to all the hard work of all the staff that have worked for the children’s centre over the years, and it demonstrates their commitment to meeting the needs of the children and families in the Ash Green reach area.”
As well as day care provision for children aged five years and under, the centre provides services for parents including counselling, midwife sessions and employment advice.
It also puts on training courses such as food safety, baby massage and cookery courses.
Inspectors, who noted that 49 per cent of children in the area live in workless households, praised the centre’s efforts to change this.
“Through education, training and volunteering organised by the centre, the economic stability and independence of a significant number of users have improved significantly,” they wrote.
“Many users have developed skills and achieved qualifications that have greatly enhanced their personal development or facilitated their progression to sustainable employment.”
The report outlines how one mum, Sarah Bedford, progressed from being a centre user to chairing the North Halifax Partnership Board, which oversees children’s centre services throughout the north and east Halifax area.
It also notes how children who used the centre went on to do better academically than their peers at primary school.
“Data analysed by the school shows that children who attend the centre make a good transition into school and progress better than those who did not attend,” the report states.
Parents also praised the centre for the “vital” help it offered them.
One told inspectors: “With the support of the centre, I have managed to sort my life out and get it back on track.”
Ms Burke said: “Reading this makes you think you’ve made a difference to people’s lives and you’ve made an impact.
“That in itself is quite rewarding.”