Help Kids Talk


Please click here for ‘Help Kids Talk’ contact details




Why learning to talk is so important for all children?
A child’s ability to talk is often taken for granted. We place a lot of emphasis on when our children start to walk and that can often be a date of remembrance for years to come. Talking is as essential as walking and here is the reason why.

The Communication Trust reports that ‘Children who find learning to talk hard find life hard’. Children with speech and language difficulties are at high risk of problems with reading, writing and spelling. They are also more likely to have behavioural difficulties, challenges making and maintaining friendships and with their self-esteem and confidence. It may also affect their education and employment chances later in life.

Why is this so important for children in Lisburn?
Through research we know 32% of our children in Lisburn are starting school with a mild to severe speech, language and communication problem. One of the reasons for this late detection is that we think that our child will catch up when they start school and will be encouraged by our teachers and other children. For some children that can help but for others they can fall behind in the classroom or it presents itself in a different way for example through their behaviour as they get frustrated not understanding what is going on, unable to express how they feel or to get others to understand them.

The good news is there are simple things we can all do from an early stage to help and support our children’s speech, language and communication development. The Help Kids Talk initiative funded by Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council was launched on the 4th March 2020 in Laganvalley Island Centre. It is a community wide project involving everyone who has a responsibility for a child, whether that is a parent, carer, grandparent, other family members, childminders and staff in an organisation that provides services for children in Lisburn.

We have awareness sessions for parents/carers and other family members on what speech, language and communication development should look like, what you can do to encourage your child’s development and where to go if you need help and support. We also have training and programmes available that support a child’s development for organisations that provide services for children.
If you want to hear more about the Help Kids Talk initiative in Lisburn or you want to get involved contact the Help Kids Talk coordinator on 02892 670755 or 07715801635


Natalie Williams, Rachael Whan, Aisling Donnelly, Alison Ferris, Help Kids Talk Steering group,
Adrian Bird, Resurgam Trust, Tracey Cassells and Aura Law-Porter and Ronie Ryan from Barbour Nursery School


Sure Start


Sure Start Projects in Northern Ireland are working hard to continue to provide support to families in their communities during the COVID 19 crisis.  While they have ceased providing normal services for now, they are exploring whatever innovative means they can to support families.  This includes maximising the use of phone calls and on line support – including social media, podcasts, YouTube videos & email resources.  They are determined to join the community effort to make a difference.  #SURESTARTWORKS for children, families and communities.  Facing COVID 19 with community solidarity instead of fear.

British & Irish Sign Language Public Health Information – COVID19


The PHA has made available two videos in British and Irish Sign Language, covering the key public health information regarding COVID19. Please click links below:






COVID-19 Information for Providers of Registered Childcare


The situation in relation to COVID-19 is a changing one and the Public Health Agency (PHA) advice is updated frequently to reflect that. Therefore I would urge all providers of registered childcare to check the PHA website on a daily basis.


If you have any specific queries you can contact the PHA on their helpline number 0300 200 7885  for advice in relation to specific queries, or visit their website for general updated information.


The section on Guidance to Educational Settings is particularly relevant and will also be updated to reflect changes in the situation.



You can also contact NHS 111 helpline, and



This website provides good advice about the measures you can take to avoid infection, so I would advise all providers to visit it, read the information carefully and implement with all staff.


The Health and Social Care Board works closely with our public health colleagues in the Public Health Agency and NHS 111, who are the best placed to provide updated advice through their helpline in relation to any recommended actions that a provider of registered childcare should take in response to COVID-19.


This is naturally a worrying time for both staff and families and we appreciate your support in ensuring that we follow the advice of public health professionals in ensuring an effective and proportionate response to a changing situation.


In addition providers of Registered Childcare should note the following:



  • You will have to do this in line with your own policies and procedures which you may need to review and amend. Any resulting action you take should take account of any specific advice you may need to seek, or have been given, from the Public Health Agency and/or Environmental Health.


  • The Minimum Standards October 2018 at page 14 Footnote 5, references guidelines which the Public Health Agency have already  produced on Infection Control –“Infection, Prevention and Control – Best Practice Advice for Nurseries and childcare settings.”



Please review it against your own policies and procedures governing “Infection, prevention and Control” and/or  “Exclusion of Children from the setting.” You are also advised to review your equipment and resources to ensure they are sufficient for good hygiene and infection control.


  • If your service is directly impacted by this infection, you should seek advice  from the Public Health Agency in the first instance, following that you must inform your local HSC Trust Early Years Team to inform them, including the action you have taken, or are proposing to take to minimise or remove the risk to children, families and staff attending the facility.


  • Notification to the Early Years team should include sharing the information you are providing to parents of children attending your provision.  If you are required to cease your service for any period of  time the local Trust Early Years Team will need to engage in discussion with you about this and to inform Family Support NI which holds the public register for childcare.