Southcote Sure Start Centre & Library

Southcote Sure Start Centre & Library

Arts-led family learning

Creative Junction delivered a Family Learning project in partnership with Reading Borough Council bringing together Southcote Library and Southcote Children’s Centre for the first time in active partnership to promote, signpost and sign up families to the services of their organisations.

Six professional artists worked alongside staff and volunteers to engage with children and families through exciting and hands on activities designed for all ages.

This project saw nearly 60 attendances over four 2 hour sessions. Activities included visual art, photography and music offered opportunities that made art and culture accessible to everybody and provided high quality opportunities and signposting services and support in a local setting familiar and trusted by local families.

Feedback from the Children’s Centre and Library were very positive:

“This was the first time that Southcote Children Centre had worked directly in partnership with Southcote Library to offer joint services for the local community. It has been fantastic that families can access both services at the same time and find out more information. It has also helped with marketing and promotion of the sessions too. This joined up approach is certainly something that we will look to explore with other libraries and children centres across the Borough.” Children Centre staff

For the settings, they saw increased access and new audiences.

“When working with the diverse communities in Reading, it is important to have diversity in the activities and opportunities that you offer as a service. For many families, this would have been the first time that they would have had the opportunity to engage with such activities in a community setting and as such, engagement with new families and different audiences increased during these sessions.” Library staff

The aims of the activities, open to all ages and abilities, were to offer creative opportunities to learn new skills, gain confidence and interact with others.

The project was specifically developed to involve the adult and child working together, with the adult being an integral part of the activities in an effort to increase shared learning and understanding.

Other benefits to their child reported by parents were mixing with other children, being more involved in different activities that before s/he did not like or would not try and increased concentration and improved listening.