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Databank. Sure Start
This scheme, introduced at the end of 1999 by Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett and Yvetter Cooper, Minister for Public Health, gives parents and young children in disadvantaged areas around the country a better chance of a good start in life. A total of 15 Sure Start programmes were initially announced but there are plans to double their number and invitations to develop programmes have been sent to 69 more areas. Sure Start aims to make a huge difference to the lives of children and families by tackling child poverty and social exclusion. Support will be given to parents through help in nurturing and developing the health, wellbeing and learning capabilities of young children from the moment they are born. This will be done by providing parents with the advice and support they need to bring up a family in the best possible way. Community-run parent and children centres, parent support and training, measures to support children with disabilities and special needs, play centres, loan service of toys and books, outreach work for families from ethnic minorities and a programme to enhance parenting and life skills are some of the projects being undertaken. The Government is making available £542 million between 1999 and 2000 and 2001 and 2002 to establish at least 250 Sure Start programmes across the UK.