COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Kids' charities unite for joint awareness month

Five children's charities have agreed to rename their awareness month after a Government unit in return for receiving £350,000.

National Sure Start Month, which begins on Monday, replaces National Childcare Week. Kids' Club Network, the Daycare Trust, the National Childminding Association, the National Day Nurseries Association and the Pre-school Learning Alliance will each be staging events under the Government banner.

In the past, the charities ran their own separate awareness drives. Last year, they agreed to combine their efforts under the name National Childcare Month, which received £200,000 of Government sponsorship.

Labour has almost doubled that amount for this year's event. In return, the charities have agreed to rename the event after the Government unit that aims to provide a more joined-up approach to childcare.

Anne Longfield, chief executive of Kids' Club Network, which has taken over from the Daycare Trust as event co-ordinator, said the new arrangement benefited both sectors.

"The whole childcare strategy now falls under the umbrella of Sure Start and all five organisations are working with the Government to deliver it," she said.

"As with any new brand, it's about growing awareness and we wouldn't expect the Government to fund the event without getting that in return. There are lots of things we wouldn't work on with the Government but it is a very important player."

Each charity has been given its own week of events. Fourteen famous dads, including designers Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Wayne Hemingway, chef Ainsley Harriot, and TV presenter Chris Tarrant have agreed to give their views on fatherhood after being approached by the Daycare Trust.

Their views will be broadcast in the run-up to Fathers' Day on 15 June during the first National Sure Start Month.

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