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Sure Start Programme: Copeland

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 8 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how much funding to support the work of Sure Start within Copeland has been provided over the last five years; (175944)

(2) how many families have accessed health and support from the Sure Start programme within Copeland over the last five years.

The Sure Start Local Programme in Whitehaven, Copeland, received revenue and capital funding directly from the then Department for Education and Skills until March 2006. Since April 2006 revenue funding for all Sure Start Local Programmes (SSLPs) has been included in the General Sure Start Grant allocated to local authorities.

Funding for Copeland is therefore not allocated separately but is included in Cumbria county council's General Sure Start Grant (from April 2008 the Sure Start, Early Years and Childcare Grant) which includes revenue and capital for Sure Start Children's Centres. Local authorities are responsible for allocating the children's centre funding that they receive from my Department to the Sure Start Children's Centres in their area. In 2006-07 this grant included £3,482,237 in ringfenced revenue funding to support five SSLPs in Cumbria. Cumbria county council, like all other local authorities with ringfenced SSLP funding, has the freedom to determine the level of resource for each individual SSLP in its area. The following table shows allocations for the five financial years between 2002 and 2007.

Cumbria Sure Start allocations




All Sure Start local programmes in Cumbria

All Sure Start children’s centres in Cumbria


All Sure Start children’s centres in Cumbria










1 Figures for 'Copeland/Whitehaven' relate to the revenue and capital grant allocated directly to the Sure Start Local programme in Whitehaven for the four financial years between 2002 and 2006. Figures for 'All Sure Start Children's Centres in Cumbria' show revenue and capital funding for the two financial years between 2004 and 2006. 2 The capital allocation for 'All Children's Centres in Cumbria' in 2006-07 includes capital funding for childcare sustainability and extended schools as well as Sure Start Children's Centres. The local authority had the flexibility to decide how much of this capital funding it spent on centres.

Data on the number of families accessing health and support services in Sure Start centres are not collected centrally. Sure Start Whitehaven was originally set up to support 706 children under four and their families, but when it became a Sure Start Children's Centre in 2005 its ‘catchment area' was increased to support 900 children under five and their families. Cumbria county council has developed sixteen Sure Start Children's Centres, four of which (including the one based on Sure Start Whitehaven) are in the Copeland area. According to information from Cumbria county council these four centres serve 1,753 children under five and their families.