Jersey’s first school-linked child and family centre opened this week. Samarès Pathways, which is in the grounds of Samarès primary school, aims to support families with young children in the heart of the community where they are easily accessible.
Samarès is a joint project between Education, Sport and Culture, Health and Social Services and Family Nursing & Home Care. It has been made possible by a generous donation from the Lloyds Bank Foundation for the Channel Islands.
The centre will work in partnership with families to provide services which they find valuable including:
- Health visitors and community nursery nurses
- Child health clinics
- Parenting support groups such as a JELLY Club that promotes early learning and literacy
- Pop-in and play groups
- Premature baby support
- Breakfast clubs
Samarès head teacher Andrew Willis said: “We are a school in the centre of our community, which makes us an important focal point for all families in the area. The new centre enables us to expand what we do and support the very youngest children by supporting their families. The centre is a friendly, welcoming place for parents to come and provides a gentle focus on health and education that will help us to spot any potential issues early on.”
The official opening took place at on Thursday 4th December when Lady McColl cut a ribbon and contributed, along with other invited guests, parents and children, to a piece of community art.
The school choir then sang two songs for the special guests.
ESC Minister Deputy Rod Bryans said: “One of my priorities over the next three years is to make sure we reach out and help families because, if we get this right, their children can get the best possible start in life. They will be best placed to make the most of opportunities at school and, subsequently, will have better life chances. Some families find it difficult to ask to support and the key is to make it easy for them to get the advice they need.”
Health and Social Services Minister Senator Andrew Green added: “Early intervention was highlighted in the White Paper ‘Caring for Each Other, Caring For Ourselves’ as essential for identifying health or social problems when children are very young. This pilot project will enable us to target our services and help families as quickly and effectively as possible and the joint working is recognised as being an important factor in making this a success.”
Julie Gafoor, the Chief Executive Officer of Family Nursing & Home Care, said: “We are passionate about delivering care that makes a real difference to people’s lives and this partnership project at Samarès Pathways will enable us to do just that. Working in a centre linked to a school in a residential area, means we can deliver the most effective support possible to the people who need it most.”