Flying Start

Flying Start is the Welsh Government funded programme, which provides intensive support services to families with children aged between 0-3, who lives in disadvantaged areas across Wales.

The Blaenau Gwent Flying Start team is child focused and offers encouragement, information and  guidance to support parents/carers at each stage of their child’s development;  providing free opportunities, activities and programmes to allow all children to develop their language and social skills and their emotional and physical development in order to be ready to begin school.  

Who is eligible for Flying Start?

The programme is available to all eligible children and their families in the following areas of Blaenau Gwent (Phase One –Former Primary School Catchment Areas 2006-2011):

  • Sirhowy
  • Deighton
  • St Illtyd's
  • Garnlydan
  • Swffrydd

In addition to the above, Welsh Government expanded Flying Start into new areas using the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation and designated communities via geographical area boundaries known as LSOA’s (Lower Super Output Area’s). 

Between 2012 and 2015 the Flying Start programme expanded to include the following LSOA’s: 

  • Ebbw Vale North 2 (Hilltop)
  • Ebbw Vale South 1 (Briery Hill)
  • Cwmtillery 1 (Roseheyworth)
  • Nantyglo 3 (CoedCae)

In 2015/16 – There was further expansion of the Flying Start programme into 2 new Lower Super Output Areas:

  • Cwm 2 (from November 2015)
  • Abertillery 1(From March 2016)

As of March 2016, Flying Start is available to one third of the County Borough of Blaenau Gwent. 

To confirm if you are an eligible family living within a Flying Start area, please contact the Family Information Services on 08000 32 33 39.

What Flying Start means in practice:

There are 4 core elements of the Flying Start programme which have been drawn from a range of options that have been shown to influence positive outcomes for children and their families. 

1.   An enhanced Health Visiting service

Flying Start Health Visitors provides an intensive Health Visiting service to all eligible families, and with the assistance of Health Family Support Workers have the capacity to visit families more frequently and provide one to one support in the home.  

Recently Flying Start has introduced new antenatal programmes and services, with the aim of contacting every pregnant mother that attends our Antenatal Booking Clinic.  Such early contact promotes health and wellbeing for the mother and child during pregnancy and beyond.  Each Flying Start family is supported to develop and bond with their baby, supporting mum in particular with her emotional and mental health.  Flying Start provides locally accessible baby clinics promoting the uptake of immunisations, giving general baby health advice, on breast feeding, weaning, creating routines and sleep patterns. 

Baby Massage courses are available, informing parents about baby bonding and creating attachment which can help alleviate and soothe a baby during illness, or teething and general growth. The Health Visiting Service continues up to the age of 4 years old, when the child’s health care is handed over to the school nurse on entry to school.

2.   Access to Parenting Programmes

Parents living in Flying Start areas are supported further by having the opportunity to attend a range of parenting programmes, which aim to give them the skills to parent effectively. Some courses are especially for new parents with new born babies to encourage baby bonding and attachment. As children grow further programmes are available which build parent’s confidence to handle their children’s behaviour, promote positive parenting, creating positive approaches to building healthy relationships with their children.  Some of the programmes available include:  

  • Family Links “Welcome to the World” Antenatal Programme – Supporting new parents with some of the difficulties they may experience and support to get to know your new baby
  • Incredible Years Infant Programme – for new parents with new born babies and children up to 12 months olds
  • Incredible Years Toddle Programme – For parents to learn how to encourage their toddler’s language, social and emotional development
  • Family Links Nurturing Programme – Supports families to build positive relationships, communication and positive behaviour management within the family.  

A range of bespoke programmes are available at local Flying Start hubs or through home deliveries, offering support that is tailored to meet the needs of each family.  

Different workshops and sessions are also available for Flying Start parents that can be very beneficial, these include: 

  • Dealing with tantrums
  • Stress Busting
  • Managing children’s behaviour
  • A new baby in the family
  • Starting School
  • Bringing children up after splitting up
  • Supporting children through change and loss
  • Healthy eating and cooking on a budget  

 

3.    Speech, Language and Communication Support

Parents are a baby and young child’s first teacher.  

Flying Start supports parents to foster a communication and language rich environment to improve children’s early speech, language and communication development and learning to talk.  The years from birth to 3 are crucial in developing all of a young child’s growing need to communicate. 

Evidence shows that speech, language and communication ability is an important predictor of later progress in literacy and has an impact on social skills as well as behaviour of children and their readiness for school.  

Within Blaenau Gwent we offer a range a programmes and services to identify needs, provide support and promote speech, language and positive communication within families via our team of Early Language Workers, these include: 

Antenatal Language And Play -  to provide parents-to be with an understanding of how to communicate with their baby before birth, as well as a range of skills to support their child’s early educational development from the day they are born. 

Elklan ‘Let’s talk with your baby’ – for parents with babies 3-12 months old - providing a communication-rich environment through interactive, fun activities. 

Talking Tots - aims to introduce language development strategies and interaction styles to parents to support children with delayed speech, language and communication. 

Elklan ‘Let’s talk with under 5’s” -  aims to provide parents and carers with opportunities to discuss ideas to help their children learn to listen, understand and talk, as well as provide both information around typical speech and language development and communication difficulties children can experience. 

Flying Start Speech and Language Therapists – are available to support families and their children on a one to one basis in their homes or as part of group session where children have been identified as having developmental or language delays.  Very often children can become frustrated if they have speech and language problems, but making a few changes can help them make a lot of progress.  

http://gov.wales/docs/dsjlg/publications/cyp/160118-nursey-rhymes-flying-start.pdf 

4.   Free quality, part-time childcare for 2-3 year olds 

Children living in eligible properties (postcode dependent) within Flying Start areas are entitled to free part-time childcare for 2.5 hours per day (12.5 hours per week),  Monday to Friday, for 42 weeks of the year. 

The Flying Start Early Years Advisory Teacher works with each Flying Start childcare setting within the County Borough in order to develop suitable curriculum plans and activities which stimulate two year olds’ development. The emphasis is on setting standards which produce ‘quality’ childcare provision across all 11 childcare settings. 

Please see below for details of all Flying Start Childcare Providers within Blaenau Gwent. 

Flying Start Childcare Providers

Flying Start Providers are a mix of local provisions and local authority settings, however all offer the same level of high quality childcare at varies times Monday to Friday:

Local Authority: 

  • Sofrydd Sunflowers – Sofrydd Primary School, Sofrydd Road, NP11 5AB
    English setting with elements of Welsh Language - 9.15 to 11.45
  • Twinkle Tots – Flying Start Garnlydan Hub, Commonwealth Road, Garnlydan, NP23 5ER
    English setting with elements of Welsh Language - 9.15 to 11.45
  • First Friends – Flying Start Centre, Attlee Way, Cefn Golau, Tredegar, NP22 3TE
    English setting with elements of Welsh Language – 9.15 to 11.45 and 12.30 to 3.30 

Private Day Nurseries: 

  • Tweenie Tots  - Brynteg Youth Centre, Brynteg Terrace, Hilltop, Ebbw Vale, NP23 6NA
    English setting with elements of Welsh     Language – 9.15 to 11.45 and 12.45 to 3.15
  • Mini Me’s – Rose Heyworth Millennium Primary School, Abertillery, NP13 1SR
    English setting with elements of Welsh Language – 9.15 to 11.45 and 1.00 to 3.30
  • Penrhiw Nursery – Heart of the Valleys Children’s Centre, High Street, Blaina, NP13 3BN
    English setting with elements of Welsh Language – 9.30-12.00 and 1.30 – 3.30
  • Little Stars – Ebbw Fawr ICC, Strand Annealing Lane, Ebbw Vale, NP23 6AN
    English setting – 9.00-11.30 and 1.00 to 3.30
  • Jack and Jill’s – (opening late 2016) Flying Start Abertillery Hub, Abertillery Comprehensive School Site, Alma Street, Abertillery, NP13 1YL
    English setting with elements of Welsh Language –9.15 to 11.45 


Voluntary: 

  • Cylch Meithrin Pobl Bach – Flying Start Sirhowy Hub, Rhoslan, Tredegar, NP22 4PG
    Welsh Medium setting – 9.15 to 11.45 and 12.30 to 3.30
  • Cylch Meithrin Helyg Bychan – Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Helyg, Rising Sun Industrial Estate, Blaina, NP13 3DQ
    English and Welsh Setting – 9.00 to 11.30 and 12.45 to 3.15
  • Cylch Meithrin Gwdi Hw – Flying Start Brynithel Hub, Penrhiw, Brynithel, Abertillery NP13 2GZ
    Welsh Medium setting – 9.15 to 11.45

Please telephone the Family Information Services on 08000 32 33 39 to see if you are eligible for any of these free services and to check for availability of vacant childcare places. 

You can also find updates and information via: 

Facebook link – www.facebook.com/bgfis

Twitter link - www.twitter.com/bgfis

Website: www.bgfis.org.uk

Email: fis@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk

Alternatively contact:

Sherelle Jago – Flying Start Programme Manager

Contact Information

Name of Team: Flying Start Programme Manager

Telephone Number: 01495 354786

Address: Heart of the Valleys Integrated Children’s Centre, High Street, Blaina, Blaenau Gwent, NP13 3BN

Email Address: Sherelle.jago@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk