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Colin Sure Start, Belfast

Programmes & Activities

Additional Needs Support Service

At Colin Sure Start, we recognize each child as an individual; with different strengths abilities and personalities. Therefore, we aim to give each child in our care a wide range of experiences and opportunities to meet their individual needs and further their development. 

We offer daily Parent & Toddler Groups that are open to all children aged 0-4 years, however we also recognise that some children find bigger groups challenging and distracting. That's why we have developed our Additional Support Play Programme, which is a smaller group which parents or carers can register an interest in if they wish. The group runs weekly and is specifically aimed at parents who have concerns regarding their child’s development or behaviour.

We also have two further groups, called Little Rainbows and the Learning Tree, which provide children aged 2 to 3 years with play experiences and social interaction and learning in a group based setting, but on a smaller scale than our Developmental Programme for 2-3 Year Olds or Play2Learn Programmes.

At Colin Sure Start our Additional Needs Workers can also provide support within the home for you and your child.  This involves both the parent and child taking part in a range of interactive and exciting activities. The Additional Needs Worker will also provide support, advice and information on children’s development, behaviour and signpost parents to the right kind of support at the earliest point.

At our antenatal group Baby Grows you will have the opportunity to speak with Colin Sure Start staff and other mums to be. We can also provide advice and support in relation to your pregnancy, birth and those early days with your new born. Partners are also very welcome. 

Aquababes and Aquatoddlers

Aquababes and Aquatoddlers are 6-week swimming programmes for children and their parents. It is a great way to develop bonding between parent and child, as well as teaching water safety. It can improve the physical, social and emotional development of the child, as well as building your confidence as a parent about taking your young child swimming. Aquababes is suitable for children aged 3-9 months and Aquatoddlers from 9 months – 3 years. * Places are limited and booking is essential.

Baby Massage

Baby Massage develops the relationship between mum and baby and can help with circulation, digestion and growth. It’s a great way to relieve stress for mum and baby. Suitable for babies from 8 weeks of age.

*Booking is required on some Baby Massage programmes.

Baby Yoga

Baby Yoga is a relaxing and therapeutic activity that can have great benefits for babies, including easing colic, constipation and teething pain. It can help with sleep patterns and slow weight gain, strengthen the physical body and stimulating senses. Suitable for babies from 8 weeks of age. * Places are limited and booking is essential.

The Baby Time Programme is a 6 session introductory programme that aims to develop social interaction between baby and parent. The sessions include baby hand and foot prints, messy play, a sensory session, a baby massage taster session and a first foods and weaning advice session. This is programme is ideal for babies 0 - 10 months and will give also give parents an opportunity to get to know other parents, as well as find out more about other follow on programmes from Colin Sure Start. There will be lots of ideas and activities, and parents will receive a keepsake booklet with photos, songs and prints from their sessions. Booking is necessary so if you are interested in registering for this programme or finding out more contact the Early Years Team on 90601417.

Breastfeeding Support Group – The Milky Way

Suitable for antenatal mothers and mothers who are breastfeeding.  At the group Family Workers offer support and advice to antenatal and breastfeeding mums. It is also a lovely way to meet other feeding mummies and share experiences about your new bundles of joy. The group meets weekly on a Monday at the Colin Community Hub from 10.30-12.00. Our Family Team can also offer you support and advice outside of the group and we can loan you a breast pump if you need one.

Cook It! is a 6-week cooking programme for parents. Parents can learn about food groups, try different recipes and learn how to cook healthy, inexpensive meals from scratch. This is a fun interactive practical programme and will give parents confidence in cooking a variety of dishes. *Booking is essential, crèche places will be available within this programme.


Colin Sure Start organise a number of events throughout the year e.g. Oral Health, Safety in the Sun, Parents’ Week, Tooth Fairy Day, Health Fairs, Summer Scheme, Halloween and Christmas events. Keep an eye out on Facebook, Twitter and in our latest newsletter for information on upcoming events.

Fathers Services

Colin Sure Start recognises the important role of fathers during the early years and the benefits that father involvement can have on outcomes for children in later life. We continue to encourage the uptake of fathers, grandfathers and male carers in Colin Sure Start services and programmes. We have a dedicated Fathers Worker who can offer support and advice, and who also delivers groups and activities specifically aimed at fathers/male carers. These include a Dads and Active Kids Group, Dads Cook It!, Fathers Aquababes, Dads specific parenting programmes e.g. Incredible Years, Fathers and Families, and a Colin Fathers Support Group. Check out our latest newsletter for what is currently on offer or contact us on 028 9060 1417.

The Home Safety Check is a free service carried out by our Family Team. A Family Worker will assist you in checking your house to ensure that it is safe for a young child, and we can provide you with child-safe equipment such as door catches, stairgates, fireguards and other safety equipment if required (all items depend on availability).

Incredible Years Parenting Programme

The Incredible Years® evidence based parenting programmes focus on strengthening parenting competencies and fostering parent involvement in children’s school experiences, to promote children’s academic, social and emotional skills and reduce conduct problems. The parenting programmes are grouped according to age and at Colin Sure Start we deliver the babies (0-12 months) and toddlers (1-3 years) programmes. *Booking is essential for this programme.

Our Little Rainbows Additional Needs Group is one of our programmes for 2-3 year olds. It runs adjacent to our Sure Start Development Programme for 2-3 year olds and our Play to Learn Programme. The Little Rainbows group offers a play space for up to eight 2-3 year olds, who have been referred to, or are already known to additional or specialist services. A ratio of 1:2 can be offered in sessions, where the focus is geared towards each individual child’s ability, interests and needs. This programme follows an academic calendar. *Applications for September intake the following year are released around autumn time the preceding year and places are allocated on a needs basis.

MELLOW Babies Programme

Mellow Babies is a 14 week programme designed to provide parents with the support they need to develop strong relationships with their new babies. Mellow Babies aims to empower parents and increase confidence and self-esteem, provide a personal group for parents while children are supported in children’s groups, increase child/parent bonding with shared lunchtimes including fun activities for children and parents. It also provides activities to practice new skills such as ‘Have a go’, provides structured parenting workshops and illustrates family interaction through video footage. There will be a variety of topics covered in Mellow Babies over the weeks, these include; what do babies do all day, emotional and social development, what can babies do, sleep, bonding with baby and safety in the home. *Booking is essential for this programme.

MEND Programme

MEND stands for Mind Exercise Nutrition Do it! It is a fun and practical programme to build a foundation for healthy living. The programme is broken up into weekly sessions and each session includes active play (adults and children), snack time and creative play workshops. Suitable for families with children aged 2-4 years of age. *Booking is essential and a crèche is available for elements of the programme.

Colin Sure Start acknowledges that at times parenting can be tough and at times parents may experience some difficulty in appropriately managing their anger – which is a normal human emotion. PAMP is an accessible and creative programme to help parents to think about and learn to manage their anger better. It contains eight two-hour sessions, deliverable individually or in groups. Contact Sure Start for further information. *Booking is essential for this programme.

Parent & Toddler Groups

We offer a number of parent and toddler groups throughout the Colin area, please refer to our latest newsletter for details of days and times. From Monday to Friday a Parent and Toddler Group is available in various locations throughout the Colin area. These sessions are all drop-in and they offer a space where children can play and interact with each other, and parents and carers are able to meet and chat. Parents and carers are encouraged to interact in activities and hands-on advice is available from our Early Years workers.

Paediatric First Aid Training

This First Aid training is a basic everyday course that will help parents deal with a number of situations including cuts and heavy bleeding, burns/scalds, resuscitation, head injuries, choking, seizures, strokes and heart attacks. *Booking is essential.

Our Play to Learn Development programme was developed in 2015 as a result of high demand for the Sure Start Developmental Programme for 2–3 year olds.  Play to Learn runs similarly to the Sure Start Developmental Programme for 2-3 year olds and has been designed with similar principles at the core recognising; that each child is an individual, that parents are the primary and most important educator, and that parents should be encouraged to engage in their child’s learning where possible. This programme follows an academic calendar. *Applications for September intake the following year are released around autumn time the preceding year and places are allocated on a needs basis.

Physical Activities

Colin Sure Start runs a number of physical activity programmes for parents and their little ones throughout the year. These range from Pramtastics, Mum and Baby Circuits and our Happy Feet Walking Group. Check out our latest newsletter to see what is currently available. *Booking on some physical activity programmes is required.


Reflexology is a popular and relaxing holistic treatment with benefits that include reducing stress, increasing energy levels and strengthening the immune system. We offer a small reflexology service to local mummies in need of a little timeout and pampering. *Booking is by appointment and is essential.

Suitable for anyone wishing to stop smoking. We can offer advice and support to any parents and carers who wish to stop smoking. We can carry out simple health checks that can show you how smoking is affecting you and we can provide you with support and advice on how to stop. Information on local smoking cessation services are also provided.

Solid Start Weaning Programme

The Solid Start Programme gives parents the confidence to prepare healthy and nutritious weaning foods at home from everyday foods - showing how these are easy, economical and time-saving to prepare. Introducing your baby to solid foods, or weaning, should start when your baby is about six months old. It's a big step in their development and it can be great fun to explore new flavours and textures together. It's really important that you introduce your baby to a healthy diet from the start. The right nutrition plays a vital role in development and good nutrition is important for giving your children the best start in life. Colin Sure Start offers Solid Start Weaning Workshops over 3 sessions covering foods for babies aged 6, 7 and 8 months. We provide you with a starter weaning pack so that you can continue to make the delicious recipes at home. *Booking is essential for this programme.

Speech and Language Services

Colin Sure Start’s Speech and Language services provides a range of support for children.  These include an outreach service to nursery schools, Sure Start Developmental Programme for 2-3 Year Olds support, training and support for local playgroups and Parent and Toddler groups.   We also deliver a parenting programme called Chatterbox. Chatterbox is aimed at pre-school children (aged 2-4) who would benefit from additional support to develop their speech, language and communication skills.  A Rhythm, Rhyme and Storytime group and Two Rhymes by Two programmes are also facilitated in the local area. Check out our latest newsletter for further information or call us on 028 9060 1417.

Sure Start Developmental Programme for 2-3 Year Olds

Colin Sure Start continues to deliver the Sure Start Developmental programme for 2–3 year olds for 48 Children and their Parents in the Lagmore, Twinbrook, Colin Glen and Poleglass wards. The Sure Start Developmental Programme for 2-3 Year Olds is a government funded initiative through the Department of Education for two year old children within a Surestart ward area. The programme acknowledges the importance of these early years, and recognises the parents as primary early educators as they are the people who have the biggest impact on a child’s life. The aim of the programme is to support that role and help the child develop to their full potential. This programme follows an academic calendar. *Applications for September intake the following year are released around autumn time the preceding year and places are allocated on a needs basis.

Colin Sure Start Parents’ Forum

Our programmes and services are tailored to what is needed in the Colin area and we aim to complement the work of existing local services. The ongoing support that Sure Start provides can help to ensure that children flourish both at home and when they go to school.

It is vital that we get feedback from parents in the area about our services so we can continue to develop and improve them where need be, introduce new programmes and take on board all comments, whether positive or constructive. We gather this feedback from evaluation forms, questionnaires, conversations with parents, social media and also from our Parents’ Forum. The Parents’ Forum provides a platform for parents to openly chat about all the Sure Start services in an informal manner and put forward suggestions about what we could do in future. It’s a great way to get your voice heard and it helps shape programmes and services. The Parents’ Forum meets once a term, watch out on Facebook and Twitter for dates, times and places. A warm cuppa and welcome chat will be waiting on you (little ones can attend).