You are here: News Parents from across the country highlight need for neglected early years services


Parents say they need early years services to help them parent better and strengthen community relationships in a new report conducted by parent researchers with the Family and Childcare Trust. These highly valued early years services are under ever increasing pressure as funding continues to reduce in many local areas.

Recruited and trained by the Family and Childcare Trust, four groups of parent researchers from across the country spoke to nearly 500 parents to understand what families need and want from early years services. Parents said they most value services where they could take part in activities with their child, such as stay and play groups. These were seen as opportunities for children to development and for parents to learn new skills and strengthen their sense of community.

Parents also raised concerns about services, including a lack of information about what was on offer and a shortage of services, particularly for older children.

Ellen Broomé, Chief Executive at the Family and Childcare Trust, said:

“Parents have made it clear how valuable early years services are to their families. We need these services to be prioritised to support families and social mobility. The shelving of the Government consultation on the future of children’s centres alongside cuts to local authority budgets have left these services underfunded and without direction.

“The Government urgently needs a strategy for family services in the early years that supports parents and their children to thrive and strengthen communities.”

Contact: Mark Bou Mansour, Communications and Campaigns Manager, Family and Childcare Trust, telephone: 020 7940 7535, mobile: 07538 334 772,

Notes to Editor:

  • Research suggests that the funding allocation for early intervention services will have fallen by 70 per cent between 2010 and 2020 (Action for Children, NCB and Children’s Society, 2016).



The Family and Childcare Trust recruited four different parent researcher groups from a range of backgrounds and locations in order to gather a variety of experiences. The charity provided introductory research training and information about the main aims of the project. The groups selected the research questions, designed the methodology, and conducted the research, with some support from Family and Childcare Trust staff when it was requested.

Three of the groups included volunteers from the Family and Childcare Trust’s Parent Champions programme: in Leeds, Lincolnshire and Brent (North West London). The fourth group was run by the Family and Childcare Trust's Young Dads Collective, who conducted research in Hackney (North East London) and Westminster (Central London).


About the Family and Childcare Trust

The Family and Childcare Trust aims to make the UK a better place for families. We are a leading national family charity in the field of policy, research and advocacy on childcare and family issues, with over 40 years’ experience. Our on-the-ground work with parents and providers informs our research and campaigns. We focus on the early years and childcare because they are crucial to boosting children’s outcomes throughout life and supporting parents to work.


About Community Playthings

A sound understanding of child development underpins Community Playthings’ product design. Manufactured in the UK, furniture and equipment supports children’s creativity, learning and play in schools and nurseries across the private, voluntary and public sectors. 

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