Open Learning – online education

learningPic555We are quietly persevering with the coding of our secLEARNING web pages, which when we release them, will offer a range of information and advice about learning in West Norfolk in all its shades and colours.

As we labour in the background the world of open online learning proceeds to change and develop – with some astounding free learning opportunities available for everyone.

Limited only by your imagination, the websites below offer you access to the thinking and training opportunities of some great institutions. If a member of our community wants to study art, robotics, electronics or just brush up on Microsoft Office Suite skills then you can find an opportunity to learn here…

Coursera.org

The pages of this web site offer a collection of supported web learning that we think is frankly outstanding. Although heavily U.S. biased, the subjects and their content on offer provide a first class education, without the need to travel.

Alison.com

This Irish based initiative is more skills and training based – offering access to online courses and information that are designed to help those who subscribe to increase their employability.

Set the imagination free – sign up for a course and see how it works for you.

You can use our contact us page to tell us about your experiences. We’d love to hear about them.

Poverty reporting: The Smith Institute

poorLawWelfarePic-mThe independent think tank The Smith Institute have recently published a new report on poverty in society.

The organisation, dedicated to the fairer society, tracks in the document a century of welfare reform, social initiatives and government policy on poverty and inequality.

The report suggests a number of measures that could be developed to combat the ever widening economic gap. The Institute sees these new interventions as being aimed at, what it calls the ‘pre-distribution’ agenda.

Essentially a refreshing of older ideas on tax levels, workplace structures and, importantly, mantaining pressure on the development of skills as basis for social and economic change.

The report stresses how important the role of civil society organisations can be, especially where they interact with skills development projects and the general labour market.

Community charities can have a strong role to play at the local grassroots level in this framework of ideas.

You can download, view or print the full report here. (.pdf file/ 2.8Mb)

Christmas Fair – cold outside, warm welcome within

As we were unpacking our bits and pieces for the stalls at the Marham Christmas Fair the temperature only rose above zero very grudgingly.

The Marham Infant School, Mrs. Webb, the Head and her team offered everyone a great, warm welcome and a wonderful space to hold the event. Smiles all round. In the end the sun shone, Santa arrived and the ice-rink was fully booked all day.

There was a great range of goods on offer, from jewelry, fabrics, children’s books, handbags and a myriad supply of other seasonal items. The raffle table was groaning with donated prizes and tickets sold briskly from their vantage point near the entrance.

The young people of the airplay team served up fantastic pork rolls, with all the seasonal trimmings. They also played some very lively, contemporary music in the ‘jammin’ space too.

The school tea and coffee crew worked flat out all day – with everyone very appreciative of a hot drink on such a cold day.

By the time darkness fell some 250 people had strapped on their skates and glided, slithered and tumbled around the ice rink. Thank you to everyone who booked their sessions and contributed to SEC.

A special thank you to Lloyd and Charlotte for braving the cold all day rink-side and for their energy in organising such a popular attraction.

Roll on the Summer Fair…I wonder if we could get surfing into the playground?

Image: Anonymised picture of skaters at the Christmas Fair 

The GrandParent factor

grandparentsPicSome of out team were at a conference recently, listening to a very lively speaker from The Grandparents Association.

This UK charity specifically supports the older members of family groups and their concerns, offering information and advice across a number of themes – childcare, finance and benefits and the role of the grandparent in general.

This set us thinking about the work of grandparents and the care of children, in even the most well organised and supported communities.

In these days of community outreach by many organisations, SureStart, the local authority and welfare support in general – the grandparent can often, as a group in society, still provide front line care for young children, advice to younger parents and siblings – as well as coping with their own pressures around housing, health and finance.

We really like the web site for the Grandparents Association and you can find more information and support from it here.

Next time you see them, thank the grandparents – they do a lot we know – why not get them a membership subscription for Christmas too?

Making a splash on Families Day

waterSplashPicDon’t forget to drop by the SEC tent on Families Day – we’ll be Zorbing next door – can you keep dry?

Come along and see if the children can keep their balance on the water? You can pop in to see us then, have a look at volunteering opportunities, talk to someone about your group or community business idea.

We’ll also tell you where the Centre building is at too!

We’ll be happy to see you on the day.

(Our Zorbing installation is created for SEC by the same professional team as last year. The profit we make from our small entrance fee to the pool all goes to your local charity…)

Families Day is at RAF Marham on August 11th, 2011.

Saving your baby?

baby77Pic-mMany parents do not really understand the techniques needed to help their small infants in moments of crisis.

There are times when your intervention could be vital.

We are holding a resuscitation class in the Centre on Thursday 23rd June at 1.00pm.

There will be a creche available and you can book by calling Jo Tagg at Swaffham SureStart Children’s Centre on 01760 721101.

You can find our baby rescue page here on our Centre web site.

The Sandringham Centre – supporting parents and carers with small children…

The County Service Directory

nncDirectoryButtonDid you know that Norfolk County Council Children’s Services Department maintain a web directory of all the services and support that families, children and young people can get right across the county?

You can find a wide range of information sources and signposting to a whole range of services from the County Directory web pages.

This information is free, and can help you find support and advice for you or your children, as a parent or carer, across a whole range of special needs and situations.

Don’t feel alone, don’t carry a burden for want of information – this directory is a great place to start finding out.

(Contains a section on out of school activities in all areas of the county too!)

National Family Week 30th May – 5th June 2011

nationalFamilyWeekButtonNational Family Week is a series of events and activities designed to bring families together, provide inspirational family fun and let you have access to some family focused special offers too.

The campaign website is available here at www.nationalfamilyweek.co.uk

The mixture of live events and venues participating are supported by politicians, celebrities and a large array of companies and service providers from all sectors. You can see their support here.

There is sure to be an event during the week near you and you can use the National Family Week web site to check out your area.

You can also register your own event or activity on the site too.

Have a great time celebrating National Family Week this summer.

A childcare survey for 2011

bearsSittingPicWe have just posted our childcare survey and covering letter onto our main website here.

There has been an increase in families in our community, as well as developing plans to create a Children’s and Young People’s Board, in order to help improve our services.

If you had a few minutes to complete the form, which is also available for download, that would really help us understand what the needs of our familes are.

It also fuels the talks we have with our service partners about what is needed and how new or existing services can be created to best support you and your children.

If you do…thank you for your time in completing and returning our form by April 26th 2011.

Our blog goes mobile

sandringhamQRcodePicAs we move closer to beginning the development of our building, we go on working to make our Centre information as available in as many forms as possible.

You can now access our Centre blog directly on your cell phone or mobile device.

You can find our blog newsfeed feed in mobile format here.

If you have QR Code reader in your phone, scan the image at the top of this entry and get our Sandringham News directly into your favourites.

Get Centre updates from anywhere there’s a mobile signal.

The Sandringham Centre team…