Children’s centres aim to provide children and their families with the best start in life.
The current coronavirus pandemic has caused significant disruption to children’s centre services, and children’s centres in Lambeth are now closed. Support is available by phone and online. Read more information.
Sections in this guide (click title to view)
- 1. About children's centres
- 2. Register your family to use Better Start services at a local Children’s Centre
- 3. Make a referral to a local children’s centre
1. About children's centres
Children’s centres are the main base for the delivery of Better Start services for babies and children aged from 0-4 and their families in Lambeth. Our network of children’s centres offers a wide range of activities, help and support for young children and their families.
These include health services like:
- ante-natal and post-natal care
- baby clinics
- groups to support breastfeeding and infant feeding
- support around children’s diet and nutrition.
Our speech and language therapists can support and guide you on children’s early communication and language skills, and some centres provide additional specialist support for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Centres also offer stay and play groups and activities for babies, toddlers and young children to attend with their parents and carers. Some centres provide childcare, including free early learning for 2 year olds.
There are lots of services for parents and carers too including:
- family learning courses
- parenting support groups
- ESOL classes
- support around training and employment.
You can get information about accessing benefits or dealing with housing difficulties from a skilled advisor. The centre’s Better Start worker can give you additional help and support about a wide range of topics, including parenting and child development, finding childcare, and signposting to other services that may be able to support you or your child.
They will aim to provide this support as soon as you need it, so that by the time your child is 5 years old they are happy, healthy and ready for school.
Some of the services are open to everyone with a child aged 0 to 4, while others are aimed at children of particular ages or particular groups. These might include dad groups, services to support young parents, or those for parents speaking English as an additional language.
2. Register your family to use Better Start services at a local Children’s Centre
Better Start services are the services provided by Lambeth to support young children and their families. Services are available to support families during pregnancy, all the way through to when children are ready for school.
To use Better Start Services at your local children’s centre, you will be asked to complete a Better Start Registration Form. Before you compete the form, you need to read the Better Start Lambeth Privacy Notice, which tells you how your information will be stored and used.
When you complete the form online, your information will be shared securely with your nearest children’s centre who will contact you directly to tell you about the services and support available.
Alternatively, you can download and print a Better Start Registration Form and take it to your nearest children’s centre.
3. Make a referral to a local children’s centre
Professionals working with expectant parents and families with young children aged 0-4 who live in Lambeth can also make a referral directly to a children’s centre on behalf of the parent or carer, if the parent or carer has given consent.
Referrals will be shared securely with a children’s centre near to the family home, and centre staff will contact both the referrer and the parent or carer directly to discuss the services and support available.
Professionals considering a referral should take account of the Working with Children Threshold Chart and Guidance.