THE Flying Start programme, which aims to improve the lives of young children and their families, was visited by Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty Vaughan Gething who said he was "incredibly impressed" with the service.

Assembly Member Vaughan Gething visited three venues in Barry - a new childcare setting at Holton Road Primary School, a new parenting facility at the Family Centre, Gladstone Road and the co-location of a multi-agency team based on Skomer Road.

Officially opening the new Flying Start Childcare setting at Holton Road Primary School Mr Gething was provided with an update on the progress that has been made in tracking the progress of Flying Start children once they leave the programme.

Councillor Chris Elmore, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and ward member for Castleland where the new facility is based, said: “The Flying Start programme offers eligible families free quality childcare for two and three-year-olds, parenting support, an intensive health visiting service and help with early language and play support.

"This new facility has benefited from £260,000 investment and I am delighted that such high quality support will be on offer to local parents.”

Mr Gething said: "Changing people's lives is the basis for our Flying Start programme and we are already seeing that it can really give children a Flying Start in life.

"We are committed to doubling the number of children and their families benefitting from Flying Start, from 18,000 to 36,000 by 2016, but we cannot deliver the programme without having the infrastructure in place.

"Since its inception in 2006 we have made over £40 million of capital funding available and the numerous capital projects across Wales are essential to ensure the continued high quality support that the programme delivers to children and families.

"I have been incredibly impressed by the levels of energy, enthusiasm and commitment shown in delivering this programme."

Finally, the Deputy Minister toured the facilities at the Flying Start Offices, Skomer Road where £150,000 capital funding has been used to add an extension onto the building to accommodate additional staff. The building houses a team of health visitors, midwives, parenting workers, social workers and early language practitioners.

The Deputy Minister was again impressed and thanked all staff for their commitment and hard work in making the programme such a success.