Local centres to provide specialist support for young disabled children and their families are being developed by West Sussex County Council.
Launching this autumn, the ‘Early Years Hubs’ will help make it easier for families with young disabled children to access advice, guidance and services at a convenient location.
The hubs will be based at Children and Family Centres across West Sussex and have been developed with the input of parents. They will work closely with Child Development Centres run by Health Trusts, and new specialist Health Visitors.
Each hub will be located in an easy to access venue and will offer a range of facilities either at the hub or at other linked centres, such as:
• A parent and child group for parents of young disabled children
• Access to information, advice and guidance for parents of children with Special Educational Needs and/or disability, including benefits advice
• Access to the toy library, including the sensory toys
• An Inclusion ‘Champion’ who will act as a contact for parents
• Access to multidisciplinary therapies, which may be on site, or at nearby venues such as a local NHS Child Development Centre
• Access to the Early Support Coordinators.
West Sussex Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life, Peter Evans, said: “These new hubs will undoubtedly be hugely beneficial to families with young disabled children. They will place vital support in the heart of the community across the county and will enhance the excellent services our Children and Family Centres already provide.”
The network of hubs will be located at:
• Horsham Nursery Children and Family Centre
• Sydney West Children and Family Centre (Burgess Hill)
• East Preston Children and Family Centre
• Bognor Nursery Children and Family Centre
• Chichester Nursery Children and Family Centre
• Langley Green Children and Family Centre
• Boundstone Nursery Children and Family Centre (Lancing)
• Durrington Children and Family Centre
In addition, a Sensory Bus has been developed to take the provision out into the more rural areas of the county.
The project has been developed through a multi-agency team, which includes representatives from West Sussex County Council, Health and partner organisations, as well as parents from West Sussex Parents and Carers Forum.
One of the first hubs will be at Chichester where work is already underway to improve the services and support on offer to children and families, working with health partners and PACSO (Parents and Carers Support Organisation), a local voluntary group which provides fun, inclusive play activities for disabled children and their siblings.