How the children's centre helped improve my confidence and mental health, as well as my grandchildren's

Posted by / Thursday 17 August 2017 / Families

Shirley Young is an active member of her local children’s centre and regularly takes her grandson there. She talks to us about what a positive impact going to the centre has had on her personally, and her grandson Ellis.

I love the centre. It’s so rewarding for me as well as the children. I have mental health issues from when I left my job, I was bullied and my confidence was really low. I suffer with depression and anxiety and for me, going to the centre is more helpful than actually going to counselling.

It’s a safe environment, it’s healthy, for me and the little ones. There is always something going on and the staff involve you, and that gives you a willingness to want to be involved. When I make suggestions the staff listen. They don’t just dismiss it, they make you feel valued. 

"The staff are a pot of gold. You can confide in them. Anything you ask them they’ll always come back to you and give you the information you need. They’re non-judgemental. They've helped me enjoy looking after my grandchildren."

Shirley Young

I’m on medication for my anxiety and depression. It is a battle sometimes getting out of the house and going to the centre, but it used to be a battle for me to get on the bus and see my councillor. Sitting one to one and discussing things with my councillor was good, but I find being in the activities of the centre much more progressive for my recovery. At the end of the day you’ve still got to go out and be amongst people, so it really helps. This group, I can’t praise it enough. As much as they get out of me being there I get twice as much back from it for my own personal reasons. 

The whole thing is uplifting and makes you feel really good. The staff are a pot of gold. You can confide in them. Anything you ask them they’ll always come back to you and give you the information you need. They’ll keep you updated. Sometimes I’ll do something and then I’ll feel silly but they’re non-judgemental. It’s helped me enjoy looking after my grandchildren.


How it's helped my grandchildren 

Going to the children’s centre is also great for the kids, because it makes us more aware of activities and how we can make use of what’s around us.


Now when I take the children out for walks they point things out when we’re outside like flowers and animals. They also get access to toys that I don’t necessarily have, outdoor play things, sand and the water toys.

They have outings and educational trips. They also get a little bit of homework so that involves mum and dad as well.

I didn't realise the different stages at which children can do things for themselves.

Where I would usually do things for them I've realised they can do a lot for themselves.

You start to see them interact with other children and learn things like riding bikes and scooters outdoors because they want to do the same things as the other kids. They have the opportunity to see other grandparents as well which is nice if they don’t have any grandparents in the family.


It absolutely helps them get ready for nursery as well. You notice the difference in the children, how at first they just look at you but as they’re getting ready for nursery they’ll come up and talk to you and it shows the progress they’ve made. It’s so good to see them all happy. Quite a few of them have ended up going to the same nurseries so they have friends there already. All the things they’ve learnt at the centre really helps them settle in.

"As much as they get out of me being there I get twice as much back from it for my own personal reasons. This group, I can’t praise it enough."

Shirley Young

The best thing about the centre for me

It’s knowing that doors always open for you to go in. It has encouraged me to do more things with the grandchildren. The activities we do at home is carrying on from the centre.

I’m luckily enough that I live walking distance but people come from so far around to get to the centre. If it wasn’t here, I’d really miss it. It doesn’t bare thinking about.

To find out if you have a children's centre in your area you can use our postcode look up below. You can also check the Family and Childcare Trust website, to see what other family services there are in your area. 

If you have children and often go to a children's centre and want to get in touch about how your local centre has made a difference to your life, then we would love to hear from you

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