Péter Garai, Deputy State Secretary for Social Inclusion of the Ministry of Human Resources, opened the Bódvalenke Sure Start Children’s Centre known as Freskófalu (Fresco Village) on Thursday. The Deputy State Secretary said in his speech that there are currently children’s centres in more than 110 localities throughout the country. Sure Start Children’s Centres are being established in the country’s most disadvantaged regions as well as in disadvantaged localities or districts with large Roma populations.

Both the Ministry of Human Resources and the Hungarian Reformed Church charity service played a major role in the establishment of the Bódvalenke Sure Start Children’s Centre. Minister of Human Resources Zoltán Balog offered a contribution to the debit of his own allocation to enable the aid organisation to purchase the property and to begin renovation work. The Hungarian Reformed Church charity service then began a collection to raise the funds necessary for the completion of the refurbishment, and finally succeeded in bringing construction to a successful conclusion with a contribution from the international charity organisation H. Stepic CEE.

Photo: Károly Árvai

The facility will be operated by the Multi-Purpose Association of the Edelény Micro-Region as part of the Social Renewal Operational Programme financed from the Széchenyi Plan for one year. The Association will spend some HUF 14 million on the remuneration of staff members, the operation of the facility and the materials and equipment necessary for the sessions organised for children. The Hungarian Reformed Church foundation will take over the operation of the facility as of May 2015.

Sure Start was the first programme to become a locally funded scheme in 2012 after the end of the aid project initially supported by the Norway Grants and the European Union; 41 out of the Children’s Centres completing the EU project were awarded funding in 2012, and 43 in 2013. In the wake of the professional reforms and further development completed after the change of government in 2010, the network of Sure Start Children’s Centres has become a model programme.