Birmingham PlayCare Network commissions Jewellery Quarter artist in bid to launch healthy eating project

Birmingham PlayCare Network has recently launched a new initiative called ‘Crafty Food Fantasia’ to help promote and encourage healthy eating throughout children in the local population.

The project, aiming to utilise materials from The Scrapstore Birmingham to create items based around the theme of food, was launched in January 2016 and involves collaboration with artist Tina Francis, a tapestry and textile specialist based in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham.

The sessions

The craft-based sessions will be facilitated by the contracted artist alongside a BPCN project worker with the main aim of supporting out-of-school settings that are working to promote healthy eating with children and families attending their provision. Emma Payne, Business Development Manager at Birmingham Playcare Network said:

“We are working with Tina to showcase the skills of artist-makers here in the Jewellery Quarter where our main Scrapstore is based. The project will help to stimulate creativity throughout children whilst incorporating the vital messaging surrounding the importance of healthy eating.

“This collaboration within the Jewellery Quarter really emphasises how this is an area of Birmingham that is thriving, especially in terms of creativity and innovation.”

What is provided before?

Prior to the session Birmingham PlayCare Network will supply each setting with five food-themed story books to be read by a member of staff to the children, who will then decide on their favourite story. That choice will then form the basis on which the session’s plan and theme is framed around by Francis and consequently what sort of materials are provided by The Scrapstore Birmingham.

During the sessions 

Throughout the sessions children will work with Tina Francis to produce the following:

  • A large fruit or vegetable sculpture made from scrap materials
  • Food finger puppets made from The Scrapstore Birmingham resources
  • Woven placemats made from The Scrapstore Birmingham resources for the children to make and take home or use in your setting

The artist and BPCN project worker will plan and bring all resources needed for the sessions and children must be accompanied throughout by staff from your provision, as the artist and the BPCN member of staff cannot be counted as part of the child to adult ratio.

All activities will be fully risk assessed and paperwork will be left at each setting to support all activities delivered.

After the session

Each setting can keep all the artwork that the children have made, and it is encouraged that the large food-themed sculpture should be used for display or as a stimulus for promoting language around food. Emma Payne added:

“This project not only promotes creativity and awareness around healthy eating, but we hope it also leaves a lasting legacy at each location with the products of the session living longer than just the day.

“The finger puppets can be used for further communication play and the woven placemats can remain at each setting or be taken home by the children, a reminder of the sessions they have engaged in as well as a prompt to a number of key messages we would like them to share with their family.”

What messages are encouraged?

As well as the enjoyment of the process, this project’s main purpose it to provoke a positive impact on the mindset of young children, and encourage the following messages:

  • Eating fruit and vegetables is vitally important
  • Sitting up to the table to eat meals is a positive thing to do
  • Reading, sharing stories and books is key to effective child development
  • Up-cycling materials to make new things is good to do, fun and helps the environment

Cost of the session

One two hour session will cost the respective setting £185.00. This will include all artist fees, BPCN project worker time, 5 books to be delivered to your setting for you to keep, all resources and materials to be used in the session.

How to book

If you wish to book a session or multiple sessions please contact Emma Payne or Rebecca Coley at Birmingham PlayCare Network at or Alternatively, BPCN can also be contacted on 0121 236 2917.

For more information, please visit and the Facebook page ‘The Scrapstore Birmingham’.

28 Jan 2016

Birmingham City Council consultation for Early Years Services Review Project now open

Birmingham City Council is leading a review of the way that Early Years Services are provided in order to ensure that every child living in Birmingham has the same chance to have a good start in life.

As part of the review, Birmingham City Council is running a consultation period from Monday 30th November to 28th February on how people want these key services delivered in the future. The consultation document and questions outlines plans and provides the opportunity to tell the Council what you think. A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said:

“Everyone’s views are important and we would ask that you share the information about this consultation with those people who any changes might affect.

“There are eight questions that we would like you to respond to but we also welcome any other comments you might wish to make in relation to Early Years Services in Birmingham.”

The Early Years Consultation questions can be found at  Alternatively, paper copies of the consultation questions will be available from Children’s Centres and Health Centres.

Early Years Service

Early Years Services are provided to support parents from the time a child is conceived up until the age of five. How well a child does in their early years has a huge impact on how they do in the rest of their lives.

Birmingham’s Early Years Services provide support to around 100,000 parents and 80,000 children at any one time. A spokesperson from Birmingham City Council added:

“To enable us to deliver the results we want for children and parents we will need to radically rethink how we will work in the future.”

The plans

The ambitious plans surrounding the project include creating a new integrated Health and Wellbeing Offer for parents by changing the way that the following services are delivered:

  • Children’s centres;
  • Health visiting and family nurse partnerships;
  • Parenting support services;
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding support services

Open forums

Birmingham City Council also conducted a number of open forums for those who were interested in the proposals including sessions at The Pavillion (25th January), Bournville College (26th January) and Birmingham City Football Club (28th January).

20 Jan 2016

The Department for Education calls for evidence for risk-based inspection proposals

The Department for Education put a call out on November 26 2015 looking for evidence to inform the development of the government’s proposals detailing how certain out-of-school education settings will be potentially required to register and be subject to risk-based inspections.

The deadline for responding with evidence is Monday 11th January 2016 with the new initiative targeting a range of out-of-school education settings listed below.

Organisations affected

  • Local authorities
  • Supplementary schools
  • Tuition centres
  • Other out-of-school education settings
  • Schools
  • Accreditation bodies
  • Parents
  • Young people
  • Any other interested organisations and individuals.
Respond online

To help analyse the responses please use the online system wherever possible. Visit to submit your response.

Other ways to respond

If for exceptional reasons, you are unable to use the online system, for example because you use specialist accessibility software that is not compatible with the system, you may download a word document version of the form and email it or post it.

By email

By post

Out-of-school settings: call for evidence Department for Education
Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street

London SW1P 3BT

The results of the consultation and the Department’s response will be published on GOV.UK in 2016.

This article has been sourced from the Department for Education under the following licence:

06 Jan 2016

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