HC Deb 28 November 2002 vol 395 cc393-4W
Mr. Parmjit Dhanda

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on Sure Start in Gloucester. [81998]

Maria Eagle

There is one Sure Start programme operating in Gloucester, a Round Two programme in Barton, Tredworth and White City that was approved in October 2000, with a catchment area covering 934 children under four.

It has revenue funding of £2.2 million until March 2004 and capital funding approval, in principle, of £852,000. It operates over six separate sites within the area, linked to local schools, in educational centres.

The catchment area is situated outside the city centre, bounded by main roads and partially disused railway lines. It serves a diverse community including Afro-Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, Ukrainian and Irish groups. There are also a number of asylum seekers settling in the area.

Home visiting is a key service for the programme, as it is enabling 'hard to reach' people who might not otherwise be supported, to be picked up. It has funded 10 people to complete accredited courses for learning support workers in primary schools and a further two people to take the Further Adult Education Teacher certificate. It has increased the overall number of children using library services. Its parents' forum awards small grants to community organisations (e.g. for new equipment for a parent toddler group or adventure playground) and inputs into the local evaluation of Sure Start.