What is Flying Start?
Wrexham Flying Start is a Welsh Government funded programme for children aged from 0 years up until their 4th birthday and their parents/carers, who live in certain parts of Wrexham. The aim of the programme is to help children to have the best possible start in life for their future growth and development. Flying Start is child focussed and supports parents/carers to provide the most positive environment for their children’s wellbeing. Through early identification of needs and provision of early support, Flying Start aims to improve the outcomes for children and young people and their future life.
The service provides intensive health visiting support, support for early language development, parenting support and the provision of free high quality childcare for children age 2 to 3 years. All Flying start services are free to families and further information on accessing the service can be obtained from your Midwife, Health Visitor or local Flying Start office.
Flying Start families are offered:
- Home visiting from the Multi-Disciplinary Health and Social Care Team including an enhanced Health Visiting Service
- Access to Parent Programmes and Groups
- Free quality part-time Childcare for 2-3 year olds
- Early Language and Communication support/ Language and Play Groups
Enhanced Health Visiting Service
All children in the UK, age 0-4 yrs have a Health Visitor. As part of Flying Start we provide an intensive Health Visiting service, with the offer of frequent contact with parents and children. This enables us to offer extra support and advice throughout pregnancy and the first 4 years of your child’s life. We deliver parent programmes and advice on all aspects of child development, health and wellbeing, including safety, breastfeeding, nutrition, immunisations, childhood illnesses and behaviour. We perform health and developmental reviews of each child, at approximately 8 months, 18 months, 24-27 months, and 3 years of age. In addition, we support parental/carer health and wellbeing and work in partnership with families to identify their needs and to tailor health plans to meet their needs. We make contact with parents to be, during the antenatal period and continue to visit as necessary, until the child reaches school age.
Parenting support is available in group or on a 1 to 1 basis to help parents to further develop skills in managing and understanding their children’s behaviour, setting boundaries, establishing household routines, playing and interacting with their children and healthy nutrition. These all help to build parent’s confidence and self-esteem. We are also able to offer intensive support within the home to support with and difficulties such as toileting, behaviour, safety and sleep. We currently offer group programmes in Understanding Your Child’s Behaviour, Family Links Nurturing Programme, Solihull Antenatal Programme, Baby Massage and Come Cook.
Portage Home Visiting
Portage is a home visiting educational service for families with pre-school children with additional developmental needs. Portage focuses on the positives, finding out what a child can do and building on this. Portage home visitors and parents work together to ensure that support is relevant to the needs of the child and family. Support may focus on developing play, movement, learning and communication.
The Flying Start Social Worker works within the Health team offering support to children and their families who may be facing challenges, such as relationship difficulties, parenting problems, financial and housing issues. Often this can be in the form of advice and information. The Social Worker can help and support families to develop their own solutions, in order to prevent problems from escalating. The Flying Start Social Worker also provides the group and 1:1 Freedom Programme for those experiencing Domestic Abuse.
Primary Mental Health Practitioners
Positive emotional wellbeing and Mental Health Support is available within the service. Primary Mental Health Practitioner will provide a full clinical assessment of a parent’s mental health and wellbeing and offer advice, support and help to develop and maintain coping strategies to manage their needs.
Childcare is available for children from the term after their second birthday, until the term after their third birthday. Children are entitled to 5 morning or afternoon sessions a week, over 39 weeks of the year. Sessions last for 2.5 hours each and are free to families. There is at least one Flying Start childcare setting in each Flying Start area. Childcare can be accessed at an English or Welsh medium setting. Attending a Flying Start childcare setting can support what parents/carers already do in the home to help their children learn and develop.
Early Language and Communication Support
Support for early language and communication development is available from 0-4 years within the team through support from the Speech and Language Therapist, the enhanced health visiting service and childcare team. In addition, in order to develop Children’s speaking and listening skills through songs, rhymes, stories and play, the ‘Language and Play’ programme is available to all parents and children in Flying Start. Parents/carers can access ‘Language and Play’ through childcare, Chatterbox groups, or in the home. Parents/ carers that have taken part in Language and Play sessions have reported that it helps them to play with their child in ways that help their child to learn. Parents said they are now enjoying playing with their child more, sharing stories, singing songs and rhymes, talking to the child and counting things together. Every child will receive a range of ‘Bookstart’ bags between 8 months and 3 years. Each bag contains books and information specific to these ages. Each child will also receive a Flying Start Book Bag containing a variety of books and activities. Each child in childcare will also receive a ‘story bag’ and be able to take a different book home each week to enjoy.