The number of “Ready Steady Go” groups for pre-schoolers with additional needs has shrunk to just one in the whole of Sheffield – down from over twenty in 2011.
Run as weekly “play and stay” sessions, the groups were set up to enable parents with concerns about their child’s development to talk to other parents and get advice from a range of professionals, such as Speech and Language Therapists, Portage workers and Health Visitors.
Most of the groups were run by Children’s Centres, and the managers we spoke to blamed a reduction in Council funding for the closures.
Council officers, however, told us that the funding for the groups came from a time-limited government grant; it was only intended to cover the set-up costs and to help the groups become self-sustaining in the long term.
The only remaining group is based at Darnall Children’s Centre.