Early Help - Children and Family Centres

Southwark’s Children and Family Centres are a key service as part of the council’s 0-19 Early Help offer. The purpose of Early Help is to prevent issues from getting worse by offering support at the right time. Children and Family Centres work with children aged 0-5 in universal and targeted groups sessions, supporting their primary development needs. They also offer support to children aged 0-10 and their families through targeted support, including assessment and support plans.

F Nursery Readiness flyer
Nursery Readiness Program

All services provide these key principles:

  • School Readiness - supporting communication, behavioural, emotional, social and physical development, through all stages of development from pre-birth to age 5; this helps children develop as confident and curious learners, and enables them to benefit from the transition to school and from school to employment
  • Parenting aspirations and parenting skills - building on strengths and supporting aspirations, so that parents and carers are able to give their child the best start; building on confidence, education and economic wellbeing to enable parents to perform at their best
  • Child and family health and life chances - promoting good physical and mental health for both children and their families, safeguarding, supporting parents to improve the skills that enable them to access education, training and employment; and addressing risk factors so that children and their families are safe, free from poverty and able to improve both their immediate wellbeing and their future life chances

We operate a hub and spoke model delivered by four lead agencies:

  • Borough, Bankside and Walworth (BBW): 1st Place Children & Parents Centre in partnership with Coin Street Community Builders
  • Bermondsey and Rotherhithe (B&R): Pilgrims Way Primary School & Children’s Centre
  • Camberwell and Dulwich (C&D): Dulwich Wood Nursery School and Children’s Centre
  • Peckham, Peckham Rye and Nunhead (PPRN): Ivydale Primary School & Children’s Centre

The four Locality Children and Family Centres deliver services from 16 key settings across the borough as well as some local community venues. Each locality offer a wide range of groups and activities within their communities to help all children in Southwark get the best start in life. Providing support to parents during pregnancy and the first years of a child’s life through to when he or she starts school.

The Children and Family Centre offers the following:

  • Stay & Play - Early Years Service
  • parenting support - as part of the Family Early Help parenting strategy
  • 1-2-1 support for those with complex needs - Family Support Service - accessed via the Family Early Help referral pathway
  • school readiness - Early Years Service, Dolly Parton Imagination Library & Book start
  • support to improve child and family health - in partnership with Health services
  • support to improve life chances - in partnership with all services
  • a place to access specialist support – as part of commissioned services & targeted SEND sessions

These form the core of the offer and will be found across every locality. Additional services are provided according to the locality needs.

You can find more information and centre contact details here.

For useful links offering advice, guidance and activities to support you and your family during the COVID-19 situation, see the 1st Place Tool Kit.


Page last updated: 12 January 2023


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