Children’s Services

Supporting 115 children and their families. Creating 25 jobs for local people…Building a caring, nurturing environment.

Our aim is to promote an ethos of lifelong learning in a child centred, child friendly setting. Staff and parents and their children cooperate to deliver a programme that meets the needs of each child within a structured, multi-faceted, multi-cultural programme. Our strategy is to promote early intervention, provide support systems for families and enable children to strengthen their ability to learn, make decisions and become well-adjusted throughout their growing years.

The children’s services continue to provide a high quality provision promoting the value of education/play for 115 children including children with disabilities and children who are on the ‘at risk’ register. It has provided 140 parents with the opportunity to avail of training, employment or respite care.

Children learning gardening skills with the team

Children learning gardening skills with the team

Our team of 25 staff, working on two sites, are dedicated to their profession and committed to the community development approach. Staff and volunteers continue to update their training on a regular basis in order to develop their talents and skills to maintain the highest standards of childcare in line with the models of good practice.

Activities encourage children to develop good communication skills, increase self-esteem and confidence by providing a range of spontaneous and planned activities that are appropriate to the age, physical and emotional development of the child. Each project has given the children the opportunity to participate in activities that enable them to learn and understand the world around them.

Knowledge and appreciation of the environment

Children often ask questions and want to explore and experiment. They are naturally curious about their environment and people around them.  In order to help them develop a knowledge and understanding of the environment, our aim is to provide children with the opportunity to experiment with a wide variety of materials; talk about topics which arise  naturally from their own experiences; explore items on the nature table; talk about the weather and seasons; talk about themselves; use their senses to explore the immediate environment, both indoors and outdoors; talk about people in the local community and encourage them to take some responsibility for caring for their own environment and to become aware of environmental issues such as litter and road safety.

Children learning gardening skills with the team

Children learning gardening skills with the team

Social Economy Project

In 2010 we opened a second childcare facility in Andersonstown. This represented an expansion of our Daycare facility catering for local families and their children in the 0-3 age range. The Naomh Una building which is based in St. Agnes Drive has been converted into a fully registered and highly equipped, state of the art Childcare facility.  The Sure start project also delivers the programme for two year olds at the Naomh Una site. Naomh Una is based in the heart of Andersonstown and is central to shops, schools, and work and leisure facilities. It is a Social Economy Project based on a `Not for Profit ‘’ ethos thereby ensuring very competitive prices for all working families. All finance raised is invested back into the Project to expand and improve the service, create employment and deliver continuous quality training.

We believe that every working parent and those in education and training are entitled to high quality, high standard, accessible and affordable childcare.

In the current economic climate the reality is that many people, in particular, women are prevented from working by exorbitant childcare rates and lack of flexible services to suit their needs.

There is an increasing recognition of the economic importance of early year’s care and this type of provision is regarded as a critical piece of social and environmental infrastructure that supports positive childhood experience and positive psychological development. This facility based in the commercial centre of Andersonstown creates a child friendly environment for families. Naomh Una is fully registered, quality assured and conforms to all regulations and legislations stipulated by BHSCT. As with the Tullymore site we offer a multi-cultural programme which includes visual aids, such as posters, books, music from different cultures and healthy eating workshops.

Central to the ethos of the Upper Andersonstown Community Forum is the provision of integrated training in order to maintain the highest standard of childcare for the local community, in line with models of good practice and the Children’s (NI) Order 1995, and to develop the talents and abilities of staff and volunteers.  Our staff have undertaken the following training:

  • NVQ II & III Early Years Care and Education
  • NVQ II & III Playwork
  • Public First Aid
  • Managing children’s behaviour
  • Special needs
  • Child protection
  • Basic food and hygiene
  • Anti-Bias training / Media Initiative
  • Planning and evaluation
  • Play Development Training
  • NEABS Management
  • Disability Awareness
  • Health & Safety
  • Anti-Bullying
  • Motivational Techniques
  • Face painting
  • Sign Language
  • Observation Guidelines for Babies and Toddlers
  • Out to play
  • All our staff have been working in childcare for a minimum of 6 years and all our new staff will go through a rigorous induction schedule.

Funding and fund raising events

We continue to receive a small amount of funding from the Department of Education Early Years fund and out of school fund.

Our Service level agreements from the Belfast Trust, enables us to continue to support children and families who are in need of additional help.

Fund raising events have taken place throughout the year to help raise money for our services and for other charities, and have been fully supported by our whole community including our elected representatives.