A CENTRE providing training opportunities for families, along with childcare, in a north Durham community, will be opened tomorrow.

North Durham MP Kevan Jones will have some youthful back-up when he performs the honours at the £870,000 SureStart children's centre, in Chester-le-Street.

Keiron Brandford, three, will share the opening ceremony with him at the building, in Bullion Lane.

Keeping a proud eye on them both will be Keiron's mum, Helen Brandford, who is chairwoman of the SureStart parents committee.

A balloon launch and buffet lunch will follow the opening, and in the afternoon, parents with pre-school children have been invited to go along to take part in an art workshop to decorate the new building.

The centre will not only be a base for the team of 25 full-time and part-time SureStart staff, but will also provide families with child and family health services, training opportunities, family support, childcare advice and information.

Among the courses available are training to be a creche worker or classroom assistant.

Families will be able to access a 44-place day nursery at the centre, which will include day care for children from six weeks of age, breakfast, after-school and holiday clubs. All of these childcare facilities are available to everyone within the community.

A multi-purpose training room is also available, together with baby-changing facilities.

Mr Jones said: "Investment in early childhood development has effects which last a lifetime. It's vital to ensure that our children have the best possible start in life, and we're working to achieve that through SureStart.

"SureStart in Chester-le-Street has already made great progress, but now, with this new facility in place, they'll be able to offer an even wider range of services and go on to achieve even more."

For information regarding any of the centre's services , or to register a child with Sure Start, contact Bullion Lane Children's Centre on 0191-387 5907.