Best Start Plus Nursery Funding

About the Scheme

The Trust will fund children aged 2 – 3 years old, for around 10 hours / 3 sessions of nursery/preschool per week (based on local provision) who have an identified developmental need or have faced or are facing challenges in their family.

Children can be referred by their Health Visitor or Family Care Co-ordinator.

This scheme is mainly for children who are aged 2 – 3 years old but not old enough to qualify for the Nursery Education Fund (free 20 hours).  The funding does extend to younger babies and toddlers where a parent has an illness or disability.

We will ask the referrer to complete a chart with the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Scores, along with any further information that might help.  Nurseries and Preschools will be required to monitor each child’s progress using the Prime Area Tracker and Involvement Scales on a termly basis.

We will only ask for information about the child’s development need.

NB: Children of a parent who is/are care leavers or a Looked After Child will qualify for support from Brightly.  Please contact The Coordinator, Larn-a-Lod, Rue du Coin, Grouville, JE3 9QR or

Who is eligible?

Children who are eligible for referral for September 2020 must be turning 3 between 1st September 2020 and 31st August 2021.

How to Apply

Children can be referred by their Health Visitor or Family Care Co-ordinator.

Applications are by referral form only Best Start referral form 2019-2020

Next steps

A panel is set up to award places to families and will meet again in February 2020.  The panel is made up of representatives from the Trust, Brighter Futures, a Day Nursery, a Preschool, Family Care Co-ordinator and Family Nursing and Home Care.

Once decisions are made, a letter will go out to the family within one week with a copy sent to the referrer.

The full criteria for referral is on the Referral Form.

A downward spiral

Claire and her husband were both working full time before they had children.  Despite having post-natal depression (PND) after James’s birth, Claire managed to continue her full-time job in retail while James went to nursery.

Chloe was born 14 months after her brother.  This time Claire’s PND was severe.  With no family support on the island, her world began to fall apart.  She was struggling as a parent and as a person.

‘Life just felt mental.’

Hitting an all-time low

James, who was very energetic, stopped attending nursery as Claire was at home with both children.  ‘I never realised how hard having two children was.  I never got a break and was struggling with PND.  I got as low as anyone can get.’

In these early days, Claire received support and guidance in the form of visits to her home from a Community Nursery Nurse with Family Nursing and Home Care.  She said this was ‘a God-send’ but her confidence was ‘at rock bottom’.

The Community Nursery Nurse had done her best to encourage Claire to access other support services, particularly groups to socially benefit both herself and James, but she was struggling with low self-esteem and kept putting barriers in the way.

A lifeline

The Assisted Nursery Places (ANP) Scheme offers parents the incentive of part time nursery hours in return for them accessing services that will help them make the positive changes that they would like to make for themselves and their family.

After a lot of persuasion, Claire agreed to be referred by her Community Nursery Nurse.  This set her off on a chain of events that totally changed her life.

She started going to a family charity based at the Bridge, called Brighter Futures.  ‘I found it really hard at first; my confidence was on the floor.’

However, James loved being back in a nursery and as a consequence his behaviour improved and he became calmer at home as well.  These few precious hours with just one child gave Claire the chance to spend quality time with Chloe and give her the one to one she felt Chloe had missed out on before.

‘It might seem like only 10 hours of nursery, but it’s so much bigger than that.  You don’t realise the impact that those 10 hours of nursery had on me and my family.’

‘It quite simply helped me to get my sanity back.  I really believe that if I hadn’t had this help and support, I would either be in La Moye Prison for murdering someone or I would have topped myself.  I got so low.’

Moving forward

Claire did courses with Brighter Futures that helped understand James’s needs.  ‘The Circle of Security course changed how I am as a mum to my children and how I felt when I was with them.  I understood what James wanted and needed from me with his behaviour.  This made looking after him so much easier.’

She also went to a Growing Together course with Chloe while James was in nursery.  This gave her the chance to really interact with Chloe and to meet other mums, which helped to build her confidence and give her some much needed social interaction and support.

Looking to the future

‘I never dreamed that I would be working here now,’ says Claire, who is running a community facility.  ‘I never thought I would ever have the confidence to work again and not only that, but I’ve also got up on stage in front of lots of people with the drama group!’  She had to learn lines and perform in front of an audience.  ‘I simply didn’t have the confidence to do anything like that before.’

Claire feels the support she received transformed her future in a way she would never have believed possible back in her darker days.  ‘I would love to see every parent who is in the predicament I was in get this kind of support, and if I ever won the lottery I would make that happen.  I owe them my life – and my family’s future.’

Resilience is a skill you can learn and pass on to your kids and these workshops are a practical, informal and fun way of finding out how.  Families awarded places on our Assisted Nursery Scheme, can go on this course with a crèche, if needed, at no cost.

See what parents said about the Resilience Training Course… Resilience Training Parent Feedback 

How long can a family access the Programme?

The Programme lasts for one academic year.  Families start the Programme in September and finish in August the following year.

How can my family be considered for the Best Start Plus Nursery Funding Programme?

Speak to your Health Visitor or another professional that knows you and your family’s circumstances.  We can only take a referral from a professional that knows your family in some way.

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