A RANGE of services are being offered to families with young children at a new health clinic in central Reading.

The Child Health Clinic will offer integrated services for families with children under five years old from the Salvation Army building at the Castle Hill Roundabout.

Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust will hold weekly Well Baby Clinics at the centre, including advice sessions with the health visiting team, a self-weigh drop-in service, plus regular health checks by appointment. More services are also planned to follow.

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The Health Visiting Service offers a universal programme to all families from the ante-natal period through to when the child reaches school age.

This includes five health assessments/contacts at set times throughout the first 30 months of a child's life, and will be part of the national Healthy Child Programme to support parents and carers in promoting good health and development for their child.

In addition, they will offer drop-in Well Baby Clinics to families with children under five, where they can receive support and advice on child health, growth and development.

The new central clinic at the Salvation Army building in Anstey Road has been created as part of a wider review of the Health Visiting service across Reading.

Further changes are listed in the council website.

The Health Visiting service also offers a Duty Health Visitor telephone/email advice line during working hours on Monday – Friday for a timely response to queries.

Berkshire Healthcare also runs an online resource which offers advice and support to parents.

A review of services has taken into account the key areas of deprivation within the borough and has ensured households in these areas have easy access to Well Baby Clinics either by foot or via public transport, and parking is also available at the Salvation Army.

Cllr Graeme Hoskin, lead councillor for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, said: "The new Salvation Army child health centre will offer Well Baby Clinics alongside a host of other advice and support services for families in a convenient central Reading location.

"The review of the Health Visiting Service has focused on making the best use of limited resources and ensuring that those who need the service most have easy access to clinics either by foot or by public transport.

"The mandated five baby health checks will continue to be held in all our centres and the popular Duty Health Visitor phone line and email will also be available to families as well as support and advice on the Berkshire Healthcare website."

Amanda Lowe, locality manager for Reading Health Visiting Service said: "We are very much looking forward to welcoming families with children under five years of age to this centrally located venue.

"This new initiative has been designed in response to feedback from Reading families, who said that they wanted a centrally-located hub for our services.

"Alongside our other Health Visiting clinics and services offered weekly across Reading, we hope that the Salvation Army centre will provide a popular and convenient addition for Reading families."