WORK has started on three new facilities to help families with young children in east Middlesbrough.

An investment of more than £1m will see Sure Start facilities created in Thorntree and Brambles Farm, as Middlesbrough's drive to provide support for parents and young families gathers pace.

On Monday, Middlesbrough's speaker, Councillor Ken Hall, joined parents and children from three schools to get the work under way at Thorntree Youth and Community Centre on Birkhall Road.

Sure Start is a Government programme to ensure parents have access to good quality childcare facilities, advice, information and support.

The £1m scheme will create:

* A children's centre at Thorntree Primary School, running in partnership with the school nursery and offering full day care for the under-fours.

* Creche facilities and a parent training room at Brambles Primary School to support the school parent group.

* Meeting rooms for parents, creche and playgroup facilities, garden and play areas at Thorntree Youth and Community Centre.

Coun Hall said: "These will provide important facilities and an investment which will last for many years."