Sculpture Trail installed

A Young Peoples Sculpture Trail Sculpture Trail has been installed in Victoria Park in readiness for the official unveiling at Create Music Festival ( ➚) on Saturday. Ashford Borough Council commissioned artist Martin Brockman of Outdoor Studios ( ➚) to create the sculptures with children from Ashford Oaks and St. Simon’s Primary Schools and Victoria Park Nursery. Martin Brockman will have a stand in the new Love Ashford Zone at Create and will be giving out maps, info and leading tours of the trail.

The trail has been funded by a Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ grant ➚.

Summer Activities for Children and Young People

Ashford Children’s Centres have published their Summer Programme of activities for children, primarily from 0 – 8 years of age but including some activities for all families. ➚ while Ashford Borough Council have published their Summer Activities brochure for young people aged from 11 – 18 years ➚.

Foster Care Fortnight

Kent County CouncilKent County Council needs more people to become foster carers after facing huge numbers of children needing loving homes in the past year.

This Foster Care Fortnight (16-29 May), KCC is calling for anyone who could offer a stable and loving home to children including those with a disability, sibling groups to keep brothers and sisters together, 16-18 year olds working towards independence and unaccompanied asylum seeking young people.

Fostering with KCC means giving a home to local children, with local support in your own community and a local social worker.

There is also the opportunity to support unaccompanied asylum seeking young people who have often fled traumatic home lives and taken harrowing journeys to arrive in the county with no one to care for them.

KCC wants to recruit 150 more households to its fostering service this year.

Peter Oakford, KCC Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services, said: “Our foster carers do an amazing job supporting vulnerable children from our own county and those who have fled their homelands to come to Kent.

“Whether you foster a disabled child, a teenager or an unaccompanied asylum seeking young person, Kent County Council makes sure you have all the skills and support you need to make sure you can do the best you can for the child in your care.

“Few roles are as rewarding as being a foster carer, knowing that the love and support you offer can change the course of a child’s life.”

Fostering is a paid role, you can be single or in a relationship, and age and experience are no barrier.

Foster Carers with Kent County Council get round-the-clock support and advice, they get their own ‘mentor’ – an experienced foster carer to support them through their first months, their own personal development plan, a chance to get new qualifications, payment for new skills and local support groups for both carers and their birth children.


If you think you have the energy, enthusiasm and love to support a vulnerable young person in Kent, call 03000 420002 or visit to find out more.

Kent County Council 09 May 2016

Chatter Matters

KAEFamilyWould you like to:

  • Encourage your young child to express themselves?
  • Understand how children learn to talk, read and write?
  • Get new play, story, song and reading ideas?
  • Build your confidence and make new friends?

This course is for you!

Venue: The Willow Centre. Brookfield Road. Ashford, Kent. TN23 4EY
Date: 6th May – 24th June (term lime only)
Time: 9.30am· 12.00pm (more…)

Save Water in your school

Water Saving Week
Why save water in your school?

  • Saving water at your school can help you save other resources: If you include the products we use as well as actual water use, our daily water consumption is 3400 litres! One sheet of A4 uses 10 litres of water to produce, so try and make sure it’s only used when essential!
  • Saving water at your school can save energy: Water needs energy to pump, treat and heat it, whilst energy needs a lot of water to produce it – so by saving one you’ll save the other! Saving water and energy will also save schools money as they are on a meter, as well as promoting sustainable behaviour and helping to protect the environment.
  • Saving water at your school can help educate people about the environment: By taking action and saving water (and energy as a result), your school will be actively demonstrating that anyone can use water more wisely and set a good example for future water consumers. Make sure you tell staff, parents and the wider community about your water saving actions!


Child Sexual Exploitation Day

Today is national child sexual exploitation awareness day. Do you know the signs to look out for? The following guidance is provided by Kent Police

Signs of child sexual exploitation

Op Willow image

Operation Willow is a partnership between Kent Police, Kent County Council, Medway Authority and the NHS to respond to concerns and promote awareness of CSE by working closely with schools, GPs, taxi firms, hotels and pubs.

Children and young people often don’t realise they’re being exploited.

If you’re a parent, you work with young people or you’re just concerned that someone may be at risk of CSE, there are a number of signs you can look out for:

  • Unexplained gifts or expensive items eg clothes, mobiles
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Bruises or marks on the body
  • Suffering from sexually transmitted infections
  • Going missing or regularly running away
  • Missing school or not taking part in education
  • Getting into or out of different vehicles
  • Changes in behaviour eg aggressive, defensive, mood swings
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviour eg over familiar with strangers, sexting
  • Changes in appearance eg losing weight, malnourished
  • Hanging out with anti-social groups, gangs, known criminals and/or fighting
  • Having older boyfriends, girlfriends or friends
  • Involved in abusive relationships, feeling fearful of certain people.

Are you concerned about a child?

If you’re concerned a child is suffering or is likely to be harmed, you can either call:

More information is available on

Kent Police Child Sexual Exploitation page

Kent Safeguarding Children Board Child Sexual Exploitation page

Safer Sleep Week

Safer Sleep WeekFrom the 14-20 March 2016 The Lullaby Trust and partners aim to make sure parents in the UK know the importance of safer sleep and are aware of how to reduce the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

It is not possible for any manufacturer to say that a particular product will prevent SIDS. It is possible, however, to significantly lower the chances of it happening by following this safer sleep guidance.  This advice is based on strong scientific evidence where, unlike many products, safety has been proven. (more…)

Parents reminded to use Health Help Now

Ashford CCGParents and carers across east Kent are being reminded about where to go if they need NHS help for themselves or their children over the school half term.

The February school break is a busy period for NHS services and it is important that people use the right service when they are ill or injured.

Dr Navin Kumta, Chair of NHS Ashford Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “There is nothing more frustrating than not knowing what to do when you or your children are poorly. (more…)

Battery risks to children

Small in size. Risk of a large problem
The poster by Newcastle City Council’s
Trading Standards department on button cell batteries.

What do key fobs, musical toy books and calculators all have in common? All three, along with some remote controls and other electrical devices are powered by small button cell batteries.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is warning parents about the dangers of children swallowing these batteries as with more and more compact electronic devices appearing in the home, the risk of children swallowing these small batteries is increasing.

We all know that very young children find out about the world by putting things in their mouths, but what many parents don’t realise is that lithium batteries react with saliva so that they leak acid within as little as an hour.

Therefore, if a child swallows a battery it can cause severe trauma, such as burning a hole in their throat or stomach or further damage to other internal organs within a few hours. (more…)

Dental Care for Babies and Toddlers

AshfordCCsDid you know 27.9% of 5 year olds have tooth decay requiring surgery for tooth removal?

Oral Health experts will be visiting our groups to support families with advice on brushing babies and young children’s teeth, dummies, and lots more.

The team will be attending the following sessions:

  • Willow Centre Under 1’s group: Monday, February 1st 2016
  • Ray Allen Parent & Toddler: Tuesday, February 2nd 2016
  • Willow Centre Family Club: Wednesday, March 2nd 2016

If you require further guidance please contact your local Children’s Centre

Please watch out for future updates of further Oral Health support sessions.