The past couple of months have been busy ones with Parent Engagement activities including Christmas parties and an a-peeling fruit and veg event! These exciting events were all part of the Parent Engagement fund to help introduce and engage parents and families to A Better Start Southend’s offers.

Children’s magician Crazy Ryan was on hand to provide Christmas fun for children and families in the Kursaal ward for their event at the Scout Hall in Kensington Road, with an event including magic, songs, dancing and activities. The Shoeburyness and West Shoebury event included the chance for children to meet Santa and his helpers, while there was a lively Create N’ Craft event for the Cluster area of Milton, Victoria and Westborough.

177 children and adults attended over the three events, including 31 families new to A Better Start, giving parents the chance to find out about a range of different free A Better Start projects for their babies and children under 4.

Also very popular recently was the ‘a-peeling’ fruit and veg taster event. Organised by Parent Champion Kayleigh Wilkins and the SAVS engagement team, the activity brought the wonderful world of fruit and veg to under 4s in the Victoria, Milton and Westborough wards. Free fruit and veg was provided thanks to Aisha Veg & Fruit on London Road, whose owner Youness set up his business with guidance from our Work Skills project!

Adults and children were given an introductory speech by Kayleigh. Passing on learnings from the recent HENRY course she attended, she helped explain the importance of fresh whole produce, rather than processed products produced by food manufacturers and, the value of introducing them to their children regardless of their own food preferences.

Children were able to help themselves to cut up fruit, sampling a really wide range of fruit and vegetables, while parents were given the opportunity to purchase products at favourable prices. Parents swapped information about the best ways to prepare the different products, as well as recipes handed down through families from different cultures, including cooking tips and nutritional information provided by Youness.

Melanie Pomphrett from Community Dental Services was also on hand for a talk around oral healthcare (including tooth-brushing and timeliness of introducing children to the dentist before their first birthday). This provided a welcome opportunity for parents to seek advice and to discuss individual issues with children’s dental healthcare.

Look out for further free Parent Engagement activities in 2019! For more information, contact the Parent Engagement team on 01702 356069 /

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