3:00pm Saturday 17th March 2012
By Fran Bardsley
A CHILDREN’S centre which caters for Carterton’s shifting population has been praised for the work it does with families.
About a third of the people who use Carterton Children’s Centre, based at Edith Moorhouse Primary school, are service families, meaning many parents are looking after children on their own for months at a time while their partners are serving abroad.
Ofsted inspectors praised the centre following its first inspection, highlighting projects including the lone parents ‘tea-time club’, and support for teenage mothers and parents of twins.
It received a good overall rating.
Centre leader Jo Smith, herself a former RAF wife, said she was delighted with the report.
She said: “There are lots of RAF families and a new development at Shilton Park where several people have moved into social housing who are not originally from Carterton so they don’t have a lot of family support.”
About 200 children and 185 parents attend the centre each week, with the tea-time club proving particularly successful.
Mrs Smith said: “We did a lot of research to find out who were our most vulnerable families and realised lone parents were very high on the list.”
She said the centre was also proud of its summer holiday programme, which last year had more than 1,700 attendances including trips out to Bournemouth and Hatton Country World.
In her report, inspector Helen Barter said: “Staff have developed a very good knowledge of the different needs of its families, and are particularly aware of the emotional and mental health problems suffered by many of the young and/or lone parents.”
Sabrina Gibbs, 27, mum to four-year-old Jake, said the centre had made a big difference to her.
She said: “I depend on it.
“If I have any problem I know I can talk to them, they are always there.”
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