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How Community Cash has kept First Steps toddlers smiling

11:21 21 January 2014

First Steps Toddler Group, who were last year

First Steps Toddler Group, who were last year's winners of the Community Cash campaign. Dian Baldwin and her son Danny, 2, with one of the song books that the group gives to each family. Picture: Denise Bradley

copyright: Archant 2014

The Norwich Evening News has £50,000 to give away to community groups in the city. First Steps toddler group is one of dozens of groups which benefited from the scheme last year.

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First Steps Toddler Group, who were last year's winners of the Community Cash campaign. Childminder, Kasia Czosnowzka, with her charges, Ola Nesterowicz, 3, left, and Ella Barry, 2. Picture: Denise BradleyFirst Steps Toddler Group, who were last year's winners of the Community Cash campaign. Childminder, Kasia Czosnowzka, with her charges, Ola Nesterowicz, 3, left, and Ella Barry, 2. Picture: Denise Bradley

First Steps is a drop-in community group which has been running in the north of Norwich for the past 10 years, offering parents and toddlers play sessions including arts, crafts and messy play.

It meets twice a week and last year received £507 from Comic Relief through the Community Cash fund.

Click here to find out more about this year’s Sport Relief Community Cash campaign.

Nicky Hudson, a teacher and co-founder of First Steps, said: “We started with 20 families and, 10 years on, we have over 100 families visiting us.

First Steps Toddler Group, who were last year's winners of the Community Cash campaign. James Fisher, 21-months-old. Picture: Denise BradleyFirst Steps Toddler Group, who were last year's winners of the Community Cash campaign. James Fisher, 21-months-old. Picture: Denise Bradley

“It can be very isolating being at home with a young child. These groups are an essential support network, giving children time to interact with others and learn through play and as a social opportunity for parents.”

The money funded healthy snacks for the children at the group, which meets at Magdalen Gates Primary School, and paid for a print run of its own self-penned songbooks that children can take home and enjoy.

“The songbook was really popular, particularly for parents who don’t have English as a first language but really wanted to be able to learn the songs so they could sing with their children,” said Nicky.

“It also means that the children share what they’ve learned with parents and carry on the learning at home.”

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