A programme to provide improved education and health for some of the youngest residents of Gateshead has been given the go-ahead.

The Government's Sure Start scheme will improve the quality and extent of education, health and care services for children up to four years old, as well as offering support for their families.

The project has been given capital funding of £950,000. with a possible further £4m available to fund the new services for the next ten years.

Blaydon and Winlaton will be the first areas. A centre will be built to include a creche, caf, training rooms, information technology suite and drop-in centre.

As well as speech and language therapy, health visiting and educational support, the centre will also have an outdoor play area.

Gateshead Councillor Linda Green, cabinet member with responsibility for children and young people, said: "The funding is fantastic news for parents and children.

"Sure Start can give support to local families who are experiencing real problems, and there will also be the chance for local people to gain employment through training."

Families wanting more setails should contact Pam Stephens on 0191-482 4133.