Sure Start Services

Sure Start programme support parents with children aged under four years old, living in disadvantaged areas in Northern Ireland. The programme can help a parent from pregnancy until their child starts school. With Sure Start's ongoing support, a child can do well at school and flourish at home.

How Sure Start can help

Sure Start projects have different programmes for parents and children under four years old.

A project can support a child's: 

  • learning skills
  • health and well-being
  • social and emotional development

Sure Start projects complement the work of local services and give young families advice on where to go and who to speak to, if they have specialised needs or problems.

Sure Start services

A Sure Start projects must provide:

  • home based support for families who could benefit from Sure Start
  • support to families and parents
  • healthcare and advice from local healthcare professionals, including, midwives and health visitors
  • support for good quality play, learning and childcare experiences for children both at home and together with other children in group activities
  • support for speech, language and communication
  • support for all children in the community and recognising their different needs

Sure Start project might offer other services including:

  • antenatal support and advice
  • postnatal support, including breastfeeding
  • classes for babies and young children such as baby massage, baby yoga and play sessions
  • programmes for parents such as parenting courses, nutrition, nurturing, fathers groups and support for ethnic minority families
  • support from midwives, health visitors and speech and language therapists

Each Sure Start project works with parents, statutory agencies and community-based organisations in the area, to design and provide services suitable for local people.

Finding Sure Start services 

To find out what services are available in your area, contact the local Sure Start project:

Preparing children for pre-school

To help children get ready for pre-school, Sure Start projects run a programme for two to three year olds.

This programme can:

  • help their social and emotional development
  • improve their communication and language skills
  • encourage their imagination through play

After a parent applies for their child to be involved with the programme, a panel will look carefully at a range of information on each child and will decide which children would benefit most from participating in the programme.   

Sure Start encourages parents to get involved in the programme too because, parents play a key role in encouraging and helping children to succeed at school and in life.

For get more information about Sure Start programmes for pre-school children, go to:

More useful links


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