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This guide was  created with CABE for the next phase of delivery of Sure Start Children's Centres. Drawing on the lessons that local authorities and other key partners have learned and highlighting the importance of quality design, the guide focuses on both the preparation for, and the design of, a children’s centre and other early years facilities.

The first section ‘vision statement’ highlights the importance of five strategic issues that need to be addressed and outlines the qualities that should be present in the final building. Writing a project brief and how the design process works are also introduced. The main section ‘creating an inspiring building’ focuses on specific issues to consider when creating an inspiring building for children and families and demonstrates how small changes can impact positively on a building. This section uses visual examples of practical ideas and suggestions and highlights good design practice. Lastly, a summary of overriding qualities focuses on key aspects of every project, including incorporating sustainability features efficiently.


‘Every building matters’ is aimed at local authorities and other key stakeholders including children, schools and families, to be used as a visual tool and reference – to provoke discussion, encourage debate, enable consultation – which will promote decision making about priorities and provide practical, quality solutions which can easily be incorporated. Good design matters – from providing a warm welcoming entrance for visitors to a stimulating outdoor space to encourage healthy, active children. This comprehensive guide will inspire and encourage decisionmakers to consider design choices so that children’s services will be delivered from buildings that work for today and long into the future.

Multi-disciplinary Design Team
Consultation Process
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