A SURE bet for young.
In the third part of our look at winners of the 2004 Innovations Awards, Louise Redvers finds out about family care in Sunderland
SURE Start local programmes were introduced in 1999 to bring together early education, childcare, health and family support for young children under the age of five.
Services on offer include baby clinics (postnatal depression counselling, antenatal and postnatal support and general health advice), smoking cessation, immunisation advice and managing children's behaviour.
In Sunderland most people were accessing these services but geographical positioning of the city's programmes was also denying some parents.
The Monument programme covered the areas of Fencehouses, Herrington Burn, Penshaw and Shiney Row, and the Hetton and Houghton the areas Easington Lane, all of Hetton and parts of Houghton south-east of the A690 ( but this left a gap.
Joy Akehurst, assistant director of nursing at Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust, said: "We had two wonderful services in two areas but there was a small strip of families in between who were being denied.
"We've changed the way we work with health visitors to expand services and make sure everyone can benefit from Sure Start."
Joy and her team's simple but effective reorganisation of the way services are delivered to families in Sunderland has won them an award from the Northumberland and Tyne and Wear Strategic Health Authority.
Other agencies involved in the reorganisation include City of Sunderland Social Services, Barnardo's and Wearside Women in Need.
Next week, the health service's efforts to cut unnecessary hospital admissions.