Sure Start Centres #stayandplay

I've recently discovered (by accident!) Sure Start centres in Tower Hamlets.

I feel it is incumbent on me to blog about them for two reasons:

  1. as a man who came of age in the Tony Blair years, how could I not blog about this left-leaning (but not the scary oppressive offensive type of socialism) community initiative that supports families without depriving the little ones of their learned sense of the competitive edge acquired from being raised in a capitalist society*; and
  2. They're bloody brilliant.
The other morning I was walking towards Victoria Park when I saw a few Mums donning babies in baby carriers heading towards a primary school looking building - "what's this?" I thought. 

I headed in and, like an oasis in the activity parched summer holiday desert, I walked into Meath Gardens Children's Centre flowing with activities to keep even the most energised 9 month old occupied for 1-2 hours (yes - 1-2 hours - I'm not lying).

They've got messy play, soft play, music play, outside play, sensory play, reading play, play play - and they even brought in live animals from Spitalfields City Farm the last two Wednesdays!

Unless you've got mega amounts of dosh and some massive house - you just can't compete with the space and amount of toys at home.

MC with the donkeys:

I am seriously aghast that I didn't know about this amazing FREE* resource for local parents.

The Meath centre has as diverse clientele as the area so MC gets to mix and play with a load of new chums - and I get to have little chats with the other mums (and one or two dads every now and again 👊).

I literally plan my week around the centre's stay and play timetable.

Let me tell you - looking after a baby can involve some LOOONG days - being able to play in a big open space with loads of new toys is AMAZING.

Can't recommend the Sure Start centres more - get involved folks!

Meath Gardens Children's Centre:

7 Meath Gardens CC med

* Centrist Dad alert - yes, I've just replaced my hoody, denim shorts and cons with a cagoule, chino shorts from M&S and boat shoes.

** well, funded through taxation - so technically you've already paid for it.