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CRC launches ‘Insights from users and providers of Children’s Centres in rural communities’

For many children and young people, the idyll of living in the countryside is far from the reality. Their remoteness from essential services is often made worse because of limited access to transport and the hidden disadvantages which affect poorer families.

The study published today highlights the barriers and solutions to the provision of children’s services in rural areas, raising important issues for providers and funders around accessibility, provision of employment and training, isolation and poverty.

The research was undertaken for the CRC by Capacity Ltd, with expert advice from the Coalition for Rural Children and Young People. The work of selected children’s centres was profiled and analysed against local health, education, employment, transport and social conditions. The centres involved were:

  •  My Start Children’s Centre: Ilfracombe, Devon (Action for Children)
  • Millom Children’s Centre: Cumbria (Action for Children)
  • Wiveliscombe Children’s Centre: Somerset (The Children’s Society)
  • Wainfleet Children’s Centre: Lincolnshire (Local authority-managed

The report’s author, Margaret Lochrie, stated that; “While children’s centres are doing a good job, they could have an important role to play in helping out-of-work families to gain and sustain employment, including more support for parents to gain qualifications, helping with transport, advising on benefits and tax credits, and helping to create local enterprise.”

Children's Centres provide access to a range of community health services: parenting and family support, outreach services, early education and childcare, and links to training and employment opportunities for families with children under five. They are a key mechanism for improving outcomes for young children, while reducing inequalities, and helping to bring an end to child poverty.

Read our summary document on Capacity's 'Peace and quiet disadvantage: insights from users and providers of children’s centres in rural communities' publication