David Rees AM welcomes encouraging new Flying Start figures

David Rees AM is delighted that new figures show that more children and families in the Neath Port Talbot are participating in Flying Start. 1,937 children are being helped by the scheme, which is about giving youngsters the best possible start in life in. This year’s increase of 895 means that the Welsh Labour Government is well on their way to meeting its manifesto pledge to double the number of Flying Start children from 18,000 to 36,000.

Flying Start offers eligible parents free, quality childcare for children under the age of four as well as parenting support, an enhanced health visitor service and help with their children’s early language development. The scheme recognises that children’s early years are an important period and experiences at this time impact greatly on children’s future development – so it is very important to get it right. Furthermore, the Welsh Government investment is in stark contrast to the UK Tory/Lib Dem Governments massive cuts to early years support, with the closure of 500 Sure Start centres since 2010.

Vaughan Gething AM (Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty) said: “Flying Start is a vital service for thousands of families in some of our most deprived communities.  The engagement of parents and the hard work of Flying Start staff is making a real difference to the lives of children, helping to give them the best possible start in life.  I am often told by teachers that they can immediately see the difference Flying Start has made to children starting school.  As the minister responsible for Flying Start I am determined to continue to improve the programme to maximise the benefit to children and families.”

David said “This is great news for people in some of our poorest communities.  Flying Start can make a real difference to children’s lives and I am delighted that this Welsh Labour Government recognises the importance of such investment.”