Hello to you all in these unusual and challenging times. 

The Alliance has a lot to offer you, please take a look at our FAQ page which we update daily and look out for our email updates including our newsletter.

Due to the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown we are presenting a series of free Alliance Connect webinars online - see below, but full details of each event can be found on our ALLIANCE CONNECT tab under "Our Services" dropdown menu above. These events give early years providers an opportunity to share practices, concerns, raise questions and, above all, give and receive support.

Please do contact us if you need any further information or support.

We have also been very busy developing some bite-size CPD training sessions, please see below and for full details please visit our TRAINING & WORKSHOPS tab under "Our Services" dropdown menu above. Both of these styles of events ensure you will still receive a form of face to face support and advice from us at this challenging time.

You can find out more about planned online events happening locally over the coming weeks under our NEWS & EVENTS tab on "Our Services" dropdown menu and also in our updates via email.

Please use the OUR SERVICES dropdown menu above to navigate around our local services, Alliance Connect events, workshops and partnership pages.

Don't forget you can still access the Alliance online training package Educare and also take the opportunity to learn about the Alliance SMARTpd our bespoke high quality early years training and professional development packages for individuals and group settings. 

About Us

The Early Years Alliance supports an ever-widening range of early years providers and provides a united voice for all our members, as well as providing an expanding portfolio of direct services for children and families. As the Central England Service Hub, we support approximately 1400 Alliance members in Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Milton Keynes, Northants and Oxfordshire. Our members include pre-schools, day nurseries, toddler groups, nursery schools, child minders, children's centres and individuals. However we work closely with the other eight service hubs across the country and promote cross boundary working for members. 

We have been providing high quality support and advice to providers of early years education and childcare in the service hub areas above for many years. Locally, across all the Central England Service Hub, we also offer a comprehensive and up to date package of support to members, including:

  • training programme of topical high-quality online workshops delivered by our team of experienced tutors
  • bespoke workshops and tailored inset training packages for individual settings, including safeguarding audits, Pre-Ofsted audits and EIF packages, and management committee training  
  • a payslip service - details on our "Payslip Service" tab on the drop down menu
  • Our  ALLIANCE CONNECT which puts on events in local areas — meetings with speakers on current topics, information updates, networking opportunities - non-members can also attend and then can become a member of the Alliance at the event if they wish
  • A regular Central England newsletter via email.

To find out more about our work and services contact us by email at centralengland@eyalliance.org.uk or telephone 01908 263700

Early Years Alliance Equality and Diversity Code: ‘the charity is committed to recognising, valuing and respecting the diversity of its staff, job applicants, service users, members, volunteers and trustees.  The charity recognises that everyone has a contribution to make and it aims to ensure that all individuals with whom it has contact will be treated in a fair and consistent manner’. ‘The charity is committed to the principles and practice of equality of opportunity’. Subscribe to our newsletter

Central England Service Hub

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

'you said, we listened...' Spring 2021

Spring forward into feel good February​

Let's talk February... staying positive and looking ahead has never been more important than it is right now, so join our interactive FREE February Connect events to focus on you, your staff and your families as well as an opportunity to hear our latest updates and more information about how we are continuing to be your voice to Government Departments.

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you'll ever know.” — A.A. Milne 

To book your FREE place or full information and details of all dates booked for our Alliance Connect online events including links to booking your free place, please select our ALLIANCE CONNECT tab on the "Our Services" dropdown menu above.

The next round of networking meetings will focus on:

 

Supporting children with English as an Additional Language

Resilience in Early Years Settings

Supporting practitioners' physical well-being:avoiding back, knee and other pains

Navigating Their Needs

 

 

 

 

 

 


Online Training - Virtual Classroom Spring 2021

Our Virtual Classroom offers a flexible approach to learning and has been designed for people working in the early years to ensure providers, staff and volunteers have access to training.

The Virtual Classroom sessions can be accessed via, smartphone, tablet, laptop and desktop.

How long are the courses?

Courses comprise either 2 x 90 minutes or 3 x 90 minutes depending on the topic.

How do I book onto a course?

All Virtual Classroom workshops and packages, including the various pricing options for individuals and virtual In-house sessions can be found on our Virtual Classroom page.

In-house training
All Virtual Classrooms can be delivered exclusively to your whole staff team. Contact us and a member of the team will be in touch to discuss your individual requirements.

New for Spring 2021! Our Virtual Classroom PLUS takes learning one step further with dedicated follow up consultancy support designed by you to meet your needs to embed your learning in your provision. You can choose to have up to 6 hours of follow up support. You will also receive the training slides, an audit tool and related e-publication.


To see more detail on our Spring Term of online training workshops, please visit the TRAINING & WORKSHOPS tab on the "Our Services" dropdown menu above.


Find out more about Alliance membership

Benefits of membership of the Alliance include:

  • More than 20 free Cache-endorsed online training courses for your team via online training specialists EduCare
  • Access to 24hr legal helpline Law-Call 
  • 10 issues of Under 5 magazine a year — each issue is packed with sector news, policy updates and activity ideas
  • 'EY Instant Update' emails to alert you of any policy, legislation or funding changes as they happen
  • Access to our specialist and competitively-priced insurance packages
  • On-call support from our expert advisers
  • 20% off our extensive range of books and selected publications
  • Free mini guides on various aspects of running an early years setting

 

Subscribe to our newsletter

About us

As the Alliance Central England Service Hub, we support approximately 1400 members in Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Milton Keynes, Northants and Oxfordshire. Our members include pre-schools, day nurseries, toddler groups, nursery schools, children's centres and individuals.

We have been providing high quality support and advice to providers of early years education and childcare in the service hub areas above for many years.

The type of support we offer ranges from alliance connect meetings with guest speakers, networking opportunities with other early years member groups and sharing best practice and advice. We are a credited childcare training provider and run regular courses, including Cache Qualification courses in early years, and early years workshops such as "Managing your Ofsted Inspection", and First Aid courses, from our Milton Keynes office - please see our training page for details of planned courses. We also create and deliver bespoke workshops either for individual settings or practitioners and providers to access, recent workshops have included GDPR, Pensions and Auto-enrollment, and PDN (Professional Development Network) workshops.   

Please also refer to "Our Services" for current projects and work being carried out across the service hub.

For any queries, please do get in touch with us, Early Years Alliance Central England Service Hub, as follows:

Service Manager

Helen Middleton email: helen.middleton@eyalliance.org.uk tel:01908 263700 or 07918 055740

Service Administrator

Claire Viola email: claire.viola@eyalliance.org.uk, tel: 01908 263700 or 07568 607036

 

Our Services

News & Events

Girl at a party

New #ProtectEarlyYears campaign launches

The Alliance, PACEY and NDNA have launched a new campaign calling for improved safety...

Read more

Training & Workshops

Workshop


Welcome to our Virtual Classroom
Spring Programme
January - March...

Read more

Alliance Connect

Coffee morning

'you said, we listened...'

Spring 2021

...

Read more

Building Better Opportunities

Enterprising People

Helping people to a better future through business start-up support, training or active job search. 

Would you like advice on funding and support accessing childcare?

If you are looking to get back into work or training this is the...

Read more

Our childcare provisions

Directly-managed settings

The Alliance directly manages childcare services across England. 

...

Read more

Payslip service

Baby at computer

Reduce the time and burden on your business or group by using the Early Years Alliance payslip service.

We offer...

Read more

Picnic in the Park, Luton, Bedfordshire

 

...

Read more

Contact Us

Boy on toy phone

To enquire about our services or to see how we could support you, your setting or childcare service please contact:

...

Read more

News & Events

Girl at a party

New #ProtectEarlyYears campaign launches

The Alliance, PACEY and NDNA have launched a new campaign calling for improved safety measures for the sector in response to the government decision to ask early years providers to remain open during the third national lockdown.

The three organisations are calling on the government to:

  • prioritise those working in the early years and childcare sector for Covid-19 vaccinations
  • roll-out mass asymptomatic testing to all early years and childcare settings
  • reinstate early entitlement funding support for settings who have been forced to close or have seen a fall in the demand for funded places
  • introduce targeted funding for providers reliant on private income who have suffered from falls in parental demand

Evidence of "low-risk"

While the government has argued that early years settings are “low-risk environments’ for the virus, it has so far failed to provide any specific evidence about the rates of transmission of the new variant of Covid-19 in early years settings among both children and adults.

As such, the organisations are also calling on the government to provide clear scientific evidence on the risk implications of staying open for early years and childcare practitioners, particularly in light of the increased transmissibility of the new variant of Covid-19, including data on current transmission rates in early years and childcare settings.

Vital sector

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: “It is simply not acceptable that, at the height of a global pandemic, early years providers are being asked to work with no support, no protection and no clear evidence that is safe for them to do so.

“We know how vital access to early education and care is to many families, but it cannot be right to ask the early years workforce to put themselves at risk. That is why it is vital that the government takes the urgent steps needed to safeguard those working in the sector, particularly mass testing and priority access to vaccinations.

“With many providers seeing a huge fall in the demand for places, if nurseries and childminders are to have any hope of being able to remain open in the long term, it is also vital that the government provides the necessary financial support, both for those reliant on ‘free entitlement’ funding, and those reliant on private parental income, to enable settings to remain viable.

“Ministers cannot simultaneously ask providers to stay open but take no action to ensure they can do so safely and sustainably. It’s time for the government to step up and give the early years sector the support it needs and deserves.”

Click here to write to your MP about the campaign.

Useful links
Covid-19 – operating in the lockdown and beyond
Covid-19 – business support for early years providers
Write to your MP


#ThisIsEarlyYears

Join our #ThisIsEarlyYears campaign!

The Early Years Alliance has launched a new campaign to highlight the valuable role that early years providers, and particularly private and voluntary settings, play in the local community.

The #ThisIsEarlyYears campaign aims to make the positive case for greater support for the early years sector ahead of the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review, when the government's spending plans for the coming years is due to be decided.

We at the Alliance know that for far too long the early years sector has been underappreciated and undervalued.

That's why we want to make the positive case for investment into the sector, highlighting not only the challenges that providers are facing but why the early years is so important: the care and learning experiences that have such a significant impact on young children's early development, the valuable support given to parents and carers, and the central role that so many settings and providers play in their local communities.

Get involved - share your story with us and your local MP!

For more information on our campaign and how to get involved please click here

Get the facts on your side

To help support providers in their effort to lobby local MPs for greater sector support, we have also created an interactive early years data page on our website that reveals:

  • how childcare provider numbers in your area have changed over the last five years
  • how early years funding rates in your area have changed over the last three years
  • how current funding rates for private and voluntary providers in your area compare to rates paid to maintained nursery schools.

 

Find your local early years data now!


 

Early Years Workshops

Workshops, Alliance Connect and training courses in Central England — important update

Due to Covid-19 and the impact of lock-down, all our Alliance Connect events are now taking place online. We are also developing some bite-size CPD training sessions, for more information about please visit our Training and Workshops tab on the drop down menu. We want to ensure you still receive that important face to face support and advice from us at this difficult time.

You can find out more about planned online events happening locally over the coming weeks under Events here and also in our new termly News Updates.


 

We have a range of  fun story, song and rhyme videos on our YouTube channel. Join Natalie from the Early Years Alliance for the following adult foucused sessions:

 

Mathematical Babies  introducing maths to babies and young children in the home and all the benefits for your child’s development.

 

Making the most of Play Patterns understanding your child’s play patterns and how you can support and encourage learning through play at home.

 

Sharing books with your toddler and pre-school child  supporting your child at home with reading and sharing books.

 


 

DON'T FORGET TO LOOK AT THESE RECORDINGS TOO:

Sharing books with your toddler and pre-school child  supporting your child at home with reading and sharing books

Positive Interaction with Babies discovering how you can support and develop your babies early brain development.

Family Meditation session finding ways to relax and unwind, for all the family, even the little ones!

Exploring Nature Through Play! ideas for free and fun ideas using nature to plan with your child at home

Language & Communication Through Play supporting your child’s language and communication through play in the home.

 

Don't forget you can share our YouTube channel with your parents:  https://www.youtube.com/user/PreSchoolLA/videos


 

Training & Workshops

Workshop


Welcome to our Virtual Classroom
Spring Programme
January - March 2021

Spring Term Programme 2021

Our Virtual Classrooms offer a flexible approach to learning to meet the needs of providers by ensuring staff and volunteers have access to training. Our Virtual Classrooms can be accessed via, smartphone, tablet, laptop and desktop.

Each Virtual Classroom is delivered over two 90-minute sessions or three 90-minute sessions, depending on the topic. Each participant receives a certificate of attendance and all supporting presentation slides.

In-house training
All Virtual Classrooms can be delivered exclusively to your whole staff team. Contact us and a member of the team will be in touch to discuss your individual requirements.

New for Spring 2021, our Virtual Classroom PLUS takes learning one step further with dedicated follow up consultancy support designed by you to meet your needs to embed your learning in your provision. You can choose to have up to 6 hours of follow up support. You will also receive the training slides, an audit tool and related e-publication.

Let's Talk the Learning Walk

Who is ready for the conversation with Ofsted? Want to find out more about ways you can showcase your provision? You will explore the focus of the Education Inspection Framework and define the learning walk, and talk through what needs to be included,

Suitable for: 

  • Managers
  • Early Years Advisers
  • Childminders 
  • Apprentices and Trainees

 

NB. Course will take place across two sessions

Wednesday 24th & Thursday 25th March 5-6.30pm 

Inspirational Leadership and Management

Want to inspire your staff to be outstanding? Is motivating colleagues important to you?

You will discuss inspirational leadership of your early years team and consider the difference between managers and leaders, taking a closer look at the characteristics of an effective leader 

Suitable for: 

  • Leaders
  • Managers
  • Room Leaders

NB. Course will take place across two sessions

More dates to follow

 

Defining the Early Years Curriculum

What to gain a more detailed understanding of the Early Years curriculum? New to working in childcare? 

By attending this course, you will define and discuss the term 'curriculum' and explore the intent, implementation and impact of the early years' curriculum.

Suitable for: 

  • Early years practitioners 

NB. Course will take place across two sessions

More dates to follow

Exploring the Education Inspection Framework

 Are you worried about when Ofsted are due?

Do you want to know how Ofsted will inspect registered early years settings? 

Suitable for: 

  • Managers
  • Voluntary Management Commitee Members/ Trustees
  • Owners 

NB. Course will take place across two sessions

 

Thursday 4th March 9.30-11.15am & 12.15-1.30pm

 

Supporting Staff's Wellbeing

Do you want to be able to effectively support your staffs wellbeing? By attending this course, you will understand what is meant by mental health and wellbeing and the factors that impact negatively on staff’s mental health and wellbeing

Suitable for: 

  • Leaders
  • Managers
  • Owners
  • Committee Members
  • All staff with an interest in supporting colleague's wellbeing

NB. Course will take place across two sessions

Monday 1st & Friday 5th March 2-3.30pm

 

 

NEW for Spring 2021

Looking towards your Ofsted inspection .....

This thought provoking course will consider the implications for early years providers as they prepare for the resumption of Ofsted’s routine inspection schedule in the coming months.

Suitable for: 

  • Leaders
  • Managers
  • Childminders
  • Committee members

NB. Course will take place across two sessions

Group Providers:

Monday 22nd & Tuesday 23rd March 10-11.30am

Childminders:

Monday 15th & Monday 22nd March 6-7.30pm

Domestic Abuse and Violence Awareness

Do you want to gain a greater understanding of how to identify and support those who may be at risk of, and those who may witness domestic violence? 

Suitable for: 

  • All early years practitioners.

Please note that this course is not available as Virtual Classroom Plus.

NB. Course will take place across two sessions

Monday 1st & Monday 8th March 10-11.30am

NEW for Spring 2021

Understanding Two Year Olds

Are you new to working with 2 year olds? Want to learn more about how they learn and develop?

By attending this course, you will understand how 2 year’ olds develop and what you should do to meet their needs and understand how you support children to participate fully in their own learning choices

Suitable for: 

  • Any practitioner new to working with 2 year olds

NB. Course will take place across two sessions

Monday 8th & Tuesday 9th March 1.30-3pm

NEW for Spring 2021

Safeguarding Designated Person 

Aimed at those with the designated role this interactive Virtual Classroom will enable practitioners  to be confident to deal with potential safeguarding incidences as they arise.

Please note that this course is not available as Virtual Classroom Plus.

NB. Course will take place across two sessions

Tuesday 9th March 10.30am - 12pm & 1-2.30pm

Promoting Positive Behaviour

Are you confident you do all you can to support children’s positive behaviour? Need more information on supporting children who display more challenging behaviour? 

Suitable for: 

  • All practitioners working with young children.

NB. Course will take place across three sessions

Wednesday 10th, Thursday 11th & Friday 12th March 9.30-11am

NEW for Spring 2021

Quality Teaching and Learning in the Early Years

Do you take time to self-reflect? Are you confident your teaching meets all Ofsted requirements?  

Suitable for:

  • All practitioners working with young children.

NB. Course will take place across two sessions

Tuesday 16th & Wednesday 17th March 10-11.30am

Promoting Language and Communication

Do you want to learn how to support all children in your setting to develop their speech and language skills? This Virtual Classroom will support your setting to promote good communication and language development in young children. 

Suitable for:

  • All practitioners working with young children.

NB. Course will take place across two sessions

Monday 22nd & Wednesday 24th March 2-3.30pm

How to book...

Choose the Virtual Classroom of your choice and click on the date and time you would like to attend. Once you have completed the booking form, you will receive a confirmation email.

Each Virtual classroom has three pricing options available (details below). Please select the one that best suits your need and let us know on the booking form.

Full details of all of our Virtual Classrooms can be found here 

If you have any questions, please contact us by email at connect@eyalliance.org.uk and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss your settings needs.

 

Pricing Options

Virtual Classroom

  • Attendance at a workshop of your choice

Price:
£35 member
£50 non-member

Full details of our Virtual Classroom pricing options and packages can be found here

Virtual Classroom PLUS

  • Attendance at a workshop of your choice
  • Up to 5 hours follow-up consultancy support
  • Related e-publication (where applicable)

Price: 
Members:
£35 for workshop and from £35 per hour for follow-up consultancy)
Non-members:
£50 for workshop and from £50 per hour for follow-up consultancy)

Virtual Classroom PLUS - SPECIAL OFFER!

  • Attendance at a workshop of your choice
  • 6 hours follow-up consultancy support
  • ​Related e-publication (where applicable)

Price (save £30 when booking a workshop & 6 hours

of follow up support):

£215 member
£320 non-member

 

Not a member? Find out more here  


New FREE 'Wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak’ EduCare bundle

The Alliance and EduCare are working together to offer even more practical support to providers in this difficult time. It contains FIVE CPD-recognised courses. These specially selected courses give practical advice on ways to understand and manage anxiety, low mood and depression over the coming months. It also includes guidance on online safety.

Find out more here


FREE TO ALLIANCE MEMBERS: Our Members Area

Regularly updated to include all the support you need at this time including:

  • Covid-19 - Info and resources
  • Insurance updates
  • Template letters and guidance for temporary closure sue to Covid-19 or staff shortages
  • Furlough guidance and letter templates
  • Opportunity to read Good Practice In Early Years Infection Control
  • Getting staff back to work: how to handle those who can't or won't return to work
  • Consumer rights in the early yeasr sector
  • The new Alliance portal

Click here or log in to the Members' Area to read an online copy of the publication.

Become a member of the Alliance to receive a number of Alliance benefits such as discounted workshops, over 20 free online training courses for your team via online training specialists EduCare, access to 24 hour legal helpline Law-Call  and the Alliance Under 5 magazine.


Are you, or a member of your team, wanting to undertake a NCFE CACHE LEVEL 3 DIPLOMA FOR THE EARLY YEARS WORKFORCE? 

The Alliance is endorsed by CACHE and is a preferred provider to deliver Level 3 training in Early Years Education and Care.

To find out more about this training contact Ria on 01732 363070 or email ria.clifton@eyalliance.org.uk

For more information on our training and qualifications for early years practitioners and apprentices please visit the Training Page of our national website. 

Training Centre, First Floor, Bridge House, 97-101 High St, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 1DR, 01732 363 070, training.centre@eyalliance.org.uk

 

Alliance Connect

Coffee morning

'you said, we listened...'

Spring 2021

Spring forward into feel good February​

Let's talk February... staying positive and looking ahead has never been more important than it is right now, so join our interactive FREE February Connect events to focus on you, your staff and your families as well as an opportunity to hear our latest updates and more information about how we are continuing to be your voice to Government Departments.

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you'll ever know.” — A.A. Milne 

 

Following her attendance at 2 Alliance Connect events Charlotte from Buckinghamshire setting, Woolstone Pre-school described what she has gained from the events. Having the opportunity to hear the experiences of others reassured her that she was not alone and she started to feel less isolated.  Moving on to the prospect of opening her setting, Charlotte has been using the Welcome Back Pack which has been extremely useful – the team have used the checklist, considerations and cross checking documents. Charlotte said “ I would like to say that I would not have got through this without the Early Years Alliance.  I appreciate how quickly the Alliance responds to Government bulletins, that we are represented and have access to Lawcall.  I value the support immensely and would like to thank the Alliance”.

With a key focus on connecting you with other providers, sharing concerns and key questions, sharing practice, supporting each other and looking ahead. To book your FREE place, click on the appropriate link below, which will take you to the event registration form. 

For full information and details of all dates booked for our Alliance Connect online events including links to booking your free place, please select our ALLIANCE CONNECT tab on the OUR SERVICES dropdown menu.

The next round of networking meetings will focus on:

 

Supporting children with English as an Additional Language

Join our interactive session with a focused discussion on tips and activities to help you teach children who have English as an Additional Language.

Resilience in Early Years Settings

Are you concerned about the well-being of you, your staff and the children in your setting during the challenging circumstances we find ourselves in?

Resilience is a term that in these recent challenging times has come to the forefront, but what is resilience and how do we  develop this important life skill?  

Join our interactive session where we will consider these questions and together share ways we can provide positive opportunities for children and adults to learn to cope with, and adapt to, the difficulties that they may face in their lives.

Supporting practitioners’ physical well-being: avoiding back, knee and other pains.

Join our interactive session to find out about a range of resources and guidance to avoid the aches and pains that regularly affect early years practitioners.

The Alliance has been working with the HSE, top physiotherapists and Derby University to identify and address the causes of what are often seen as the ‘occupational hazards’ of working with young children; bad backs and knee pains.

In this interactive session, we will be joined by Lorna Taylor, Chartered Physiotherapist, who works within primary and early year’s settings and campaigner for improved back health at Jolly Back. We want to hear your experiences and we will share advice, guidance and support.

Navigating Their Needs

Join our interactive session with a focus on supporting practitioners to meet the needs of children with EAL who also present with  SEND.

 

Feedback from recent Alliance Connect meetings:

 

"All was very useful. I enjoyed chatting to others about their experiences and ideas and learning how important communication and well being are in the workplace!"  Shanice January 2021

 

 

"Most useful was finding that we have all faced similar challenges, supporting each other" - Ginny January 2021

 


Stay connected with us

April saw the launch of our first online Alliance Connect sessions to keep in touch with providers and to give you the opportunity to come together and discuss the issues you are facing at this time.

We have had some positive feedback from our first sessions. When asked what they liked most about the event, one of our attendees said:

The only thing that’s certain is that everything is uncertain”

Following her attendance at 2 Alliance Connect events Charlotte from Buckinghamshire setting, Woolstone Pre-school, who described what she has gained from the events. Having the opportunity to hear the experiences of others reassured her that she was not alone and she started to feel less isolated.  Moving on to the prospect of opening her setting, Charlotte has been using the Welcome Back Pack which has been extremely useful – the team have used the checklist, considerations and cross checking documents. 

Charlotte said “ I would like to say that I would not have got through this without the Early Years Alliance.  I appreciate how quickly the Alliance responds to Government bulletins, that we are represented and have access to Lawcall.  I value the support immensely and would like to thank the Alliance”.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Alliance Connect?

Alliance Connect meetings offer an opportunity to meet other childcare practitioners and to explore the particular issues facing those involved in managing a childcare setting.

There will be opportunities to share good practice and to obtain mutual support.

Alliance Connect meetings are also your chance to get your thoughts and concerns shared right up to government level and to help shape national policies.

We can pass on your feedback to Alliance managers and to Neil Leitch, our Chief Executive, who regularly meets with government ministers to help shape early years policy.

 

Building Better Opportunities

Enterprising People

Helping people to a better future through business start-up support, training or active job search. 

Would you like advice on funding and support accessing childcare?

If you are looking to get back into work or training this is the project for you.

We help to support disadvantaged people into training, employment, self-employment or active job search. 

We will address the barriers participant’s face and aim to help them overcome individual barriers to support back into work or training.  Each participant will be assessed and personalised programmes monitored throughout.  For example;

  • Getting childcare arrangements through links with two/three year funding, Pre Schools, nurseries etc.
  • Training opportunities available locally
  • Individual based support, working with the most vulnerable participants to enhance life freedom.  No short term time limit.
  • Working in partnership with the Building Better Opportunities team to help tailor to individual needs. 

For more information please contact:

Mandy Beetlestone on mandy.beetlestone@eyalliance.org.uk or 01954 231751

 

This project is match funded by the Big Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund

Early Years Alliance Equality and Diversity Code: ‘the charity is committed to recognising, valuing and respecting the diversity of its staff, job applicants, service users, members, volunteers and trustees.  The charity recognises that everyone has a contribution to make and it aims to ensure that all individuals with whom it has contact will be treated in a fair and consistent manner’. ‘The charity is committed to the principles and practice of equality of opportunity’.  

Our childcare provisions

Directly-managed settings

The Alliance directly manages childcare services across England. 

Visit the Find Childcare page on the Alliance website to see the full list.

Within Central England Service Hub there are four settings. Please contact them directly.

Payslip service

Baby at computer

Reduce the time and burden on your business or group by using the Early Years Alliance payslip service.

We offer a comprehensive, secure payslip service for pre‑schools, full daycare nurseries, out of school clubs and other community groups across England and Wales.

The service includes:

 

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Picnic in the Park, Luton, Bedfordshire

 

 

2020's event was due to take place on Wednesday 24 June 2020, but due to COVID19, we had to cancel for the first time ever in the event's history. However the team decided to still mark the day by inviting local childcare settings to have a picnic where they safely could and share their photos. The Central England Service Hub team hold a weekly team meeting on Teams and so I took a photo of the team enjoying a cuppa in their homes and gardens, and my colleague Jess Wilson at Flying Start Luton put together a collage of photos of the team enjoying their picnic's at home too. These were added to the photos Jess received from other childcare settings and we shared them on social media. 

Planning for PitP2021 is unfortunately still on hold, we hope to be able to start it soon and we will really look forward to seeing everyone there next year!

 

 


 

   

OUR HISTORY

Our massively popular annual community event, Picnic in the Park, held in Wardown Park, Luton, Bedfordshire, has been running for over 20 years, and was started by the Early Years Alliance's “Luton Branch” of member groups, who met for a picnic in Wardown Park. As the years passed, the event got bigger and bigger, and much more popular, so the branch asked the Alliance’s county office to organise it for them. By then event had turned into a community fete style event, where local childcare settings were invited to hold stalls to raise funds for their setting and to also provide a free activity for the children who attended.

In later years, we were able to secure sponsorship and organising support from the local authority, which were extremely welcoming, as by then the event was huge! Local partners and charities were also invited to promote their services in Luton. However in 2015, the Alliance became the sole organisers again,along with our colleagues on the Flying Start Luton team.

Each year we set a theme, and ask our stall holders to support this theme either throught their stall or free activity. Previous themes have included "Celebrating Fathers", "Keep Luton Smiling" (highlighting the importance of oral health), "Keeping Luton Tidy" and "Communication and Language; Luton’s Little Voices", and "Think Safe, Stay Safe in Luton",  focusing on the prevention of accidents in the home and also when out and about. The theme was heavily supported by the Safe at Home, Luton Scheme and that year it replaced their annual Safety Roadshow. We highlighted the key safety messages covered in the Child Accident Prevention Trust’s Child Safety Week (6-12 June 2016) which included warnings about the safety of e-cigarettes and refills, ensuring the same precautions are taken as with household cleaning products and medicines.

We largely self-fund the event from charging a stall fee and for car parking on the day (the event car park is in Popes Meadow, Old Bedford Road). There are a total of approximately 40 stalls, along with entertainment from a local children’s entertainer, Cheeky Dog, who has supported us for many years. Luton Library staff also provide regular story telling sessions, and Active Luton provide soft play facilities whilst promoting fitness programmes for all the family which is available in the town. Some of the stalls provide food, following our healthy eating guidelines. The fire service support us and bring along a pump for the children to explore, along with the police, who try to attend and have in the past brought a van with a cell in it, and great fun was had by all by locking children in!! The one and only time they will try this out!!

Feedback is collected each year following the event and every year our stall holders are amazed by how many families they are able to reach on the day, which they would normally never manage to do so.

In 2011 we also celebrated the 50th birthday of the Alliance, and in 2012 we were honoured to be joined by the Alliance’s CEO, Neil Leitch as our guest, he also managed to pop in last year after attending a local meeting, and in 2017 we were delighted to be joined by Dr Jason Wong from NHS England, the Vice Chair of the Healthy Teeth Happy Smiles Oral Health Promotion Partnership Board. 

Work on the event starts from the day after the previous years event, and the team are very proud of it.


Wednesday 26 June 2019 

The theme for our last event in 2019 was Think Active, Be Active’  and visitors to the event learnt about ways to engage as a family by thinking actively and being active in our every day life. We know that exercise helps our physical health but it also helps our mental health, and we invited families to join in with the fun activities on offer and to enjoy being outside in the beautiful surroundings of Wardown Park. There were lots of activities around the theme, including very active "Zumbini" taster sessions provided by Active Luton, and song time sessions from staff members from the Flying Start Children's Centres in Luton. We were joined by our key Flying Start partner agencies, who as well as activities, are here to provide information about services available to Luton families and local childcare settings. We also provided a free activity trail with a free prize to claim, and our entertainment programme also included very popular sessions from Cheeky Dog Entertainments, along standing supporter of our event, and story telling sessions from the lovely team at Luton Library.  

Luton’s Mayor, Cllr Tahir Malik opened the event and spend a lot of time walking around the 30+ stalls attending the event, talking to stall holders and learning about their organisations or settings. The event was also visited by Robin Porter, Chief Executive, Luton Council and Sophie Ross, Chair, Board of Trustees, Early Years Alliance who spent time walking around the event, and who both were incredibly impressed with the community spirit and positivity of both stall holders and families attending. 

We received lots of positive comments from families who attended the event, with many amazed by the amount of useful information available to them, and the variety and amount of fun, free activities for their children to participate in. Our stall holders were equally positive about how many families they were able to engage with and share information about their services or settings. The Library Service told us: "We received lots of positive comments about libraries. Bookstart books we gave out were gratefully received. Everyone seemed to enjoy our rhymetime sessions. We had some comments about our theatre shows for the under 5's which was great! There was lots of interest in the Summer Reading Challenge too. It was great to catch up with some families we had not seen in a while." 


 

Planning an early years event?

Read our blog on the Early Years Alliance's main website about planning an early years event.

Contact Us

Boy on toy phone

To enquire about our services or to see how we could support you, your setting or childcare service please contact:

Service Manager — Helen Middleton by email: helen.middleton@eyalliance.org.uk

2 Burners Lane

Kiln Farm

Milton Keynes

Bucks

MK11 3HB

Tel: 01908 263700

Email:centralengland@eyalliance.org.uk

Childcare

Central England Service Hub
2 Burners Lane
Kiln Farm
Milton Keynes
Bucks
MK11 3HB
United Kingdom
Tel: 01908 263700