Cookie Consent by Free Privacy Policy Generator Update cookies preferences

FIS Newsletter - Christmas 2023

FIS Newsletter - Christmas 2023

Welcome to our newsletter for Christmas 2023, combining MyFIS and MyFIS+ which we hope you'll find interesting and helpful.

In this edition we’ve got lots of interesting news about:

Don’t forget, if you'd like more information about anything in this newsletter, or anything to do with family life, then you can get in touch with the York Family Information Service; telephone: 01904 554444, or email: [email protected].

FIS Newsletter

Recent FIS newsletters

Read our other newsletters covering useful information on family life, and being a parent or carer in York.

Activities and events this Christmas

Events this christmas

There are lots of fun festive activities and events happening in York in the run up to and throughout the Christmas and winter season.

Raise York’s What’s On page has information on family-friendly fairs, activities, crafts, meeting Santa, and more! Some activities are free and low-cost including inclusive activities too.

Whether you fancy singing at the top of your voice in a festive carol service, getting crafty, taking a walk or searching for nutcrackers and festive mice, there is something for everyone including guest appearances from Santa!

Raise York Christmas Partie

Christmas party 2023

Raise York will be hosting 3 Christmas parties this festive season. Join our family navigators for some festive treats, crafts, and play. We will also be having a visitor from a special guest all the way from the North Pole with presents for everyone on the nice list!

Why not drop-in to join in the festive fun:

  • Wednesday 13 December, at Clifton Children’s Centre, YO30 6JA, from 9.00am to 12.00pm (Santa visiting, 10.00am to 12.00pm).
  • Wednesday 20 December, at The Avenues Children’s Centre, YO31 OUT, from 9.00am to 12.00pm (Santa visiting, 10.00am to 12.00pm).
  • Thursday 21 December, at Hob Moor Children’s Centre, YO24 4RF, from 9.00am to 12.00pm (Santa visiting 10.00am to 12.00pm).

Parent Champions

We have a fantastic opportunity for you to volunteer with us as a parent champion!

Parent Champions are part of the new Raise York initiative, which is a network of people, places and online support. It supports children, young people and families from pregnancy to adulthood. Families and young people can expect a warm welcome in their local community and to be guided to the right support for them.

When it comes to finding out what is going on locally, parents and carers are often the best people to help. This is why we have created Parent Champions. Their experience and local knowledge can help other parents and carers – because they have done it themselves! They can help others get the confidence and support they need at the time they need it.

Parent Champions make a real difference for their local community and there are lots of options how they can do this, depending what suits them, by:

  • providing a Warm Welcome in Family Hubs
  • helping out with arts and crafts sessions
  • raising confidence and self-esteem in parents, this could be by helping a parent/carer to visit a local parent and toddler group
  • encouraging parents to access services.
  • helping shape York’s family services.

Being parents, they can chat informally and share their own positive experiences of using local services. They meet parents in all sorts of places such as Family Hubs, playgrounds, libraries and playgroups, wherever they feel their strengths are and what they would like to do.

Parent Champions are not expected to know everything but will be able to signpost parents to the most appropriate organisations for further help and more detailed information about childcare and other local services.

The role is flexible and can fit round school times and holidays.

Full training is provided and ongoing support is available from Family Navigators at City of York Council. If you are interested, please email: [email protected] or telephone: 07901813436.

Healthier Together

Healthier together

With the winter season here, we felt it was timely to remind families about the new Healthier Together website which launched recently.

The website brings together consistent and high-quality advice from local health professionals for families into one easy to navigate place.

The information is written and approved by NHS clinicians including GPs, which means families/carers/young people will receive consistent self-care/management health advice from the website.

You'll find clear information on common childhood illnesses, including advice on what 'red-flag' signs to look out for, where to seek help if required and how long your child's symptoms are likely to last.

Together we’ll do the right thing for your child. Visit: Healthier Together

Sleep Safe

Photograph of a Baby sleeping

Families may already be planning trips to visit friends and family over the festive period. If you are working with a family whose arrangements may be changing over the festive period, please take the opportunity to remind them about Safe Sleep and the importance of this.

Here are some easy tips that can make a big difference:

  • plan ahead to make sure they know where everyone will be sleeping, well before bedtime
  • the safest place for babies to sleep is on their back in a cot, crib or mosses basket – sleeping together on a sofa or chair can be very dangerous, and don’t sleep in the same bed if they have been drinking, smoking or taking drugs
  • a clear cot is a safe cot – make sure babies cot is clear of things like bumpers, toys and loose bedding
  • babies shouldn’t sleep in car seats for longer than necessary, and should be taken out destination is reached

More information about the 'Day or Night Sleep Right Campaign' is available on the City of York Safeguarding Children Partnership website.

Help with finances

Help with finances

Whether you have a baby, tween or teen there is help and support available to families and more support coming in 2024.

Starting from April 2024, existing childcare support will be expanded in phases. By September 2025, most working families with children under the age of 5 will be entitled to 30 hours of childcare support. To keep up to date with the expanding childcare offer visit

If you do need help finding childcare get in touch with the Family Information Service, and we will send you a tailored list based on your childcare needs. Telephone: 01904 554444 or email: [email protected].

Community food support Community food provision is available throughout the City; for information about community food banks see:

Worrying about money? Support is available in York and this guide provides three steps to find options and places to get help.

Hard copies of the leaflet are available at the Raise York Family Hubs or get in touch with the Family Information Service. A digital leaflet is also available at

York residents can contact the City of York Council’s Welfare Benefits Advice Team, telephone: 01904 552044, or visit

New Services added to our directory

  • Junction Kids – a new free family worship group starting on 13 Jan 2024, from 3.00pm to 5.00pm, at St James the Deacon Church including interactive storytelling, with songs, fun crafts, and activities, followed by a free meal to eat together, and suitable for all the family.
  • Mini Gymnastics drop-in play sssions - fun play sessions recommended for tots aged 1 to 2 years (can be slightly younger or older), anytime Tuesday afternoons between 2.00pm and 3.30pm, on a pay-as-you-go weekly basis, costing £5.00 per session, email: [email protected] for more information.
  • Singing Mamas – parents are invited to a new group running in the Heworth area on Mondays, at 9.30am during term time - contact Jess, telephone: 07511887513, or email: [email protected] for more information.

For information on other services and groups, search our directory.

Family Learning NEW course dates for 2024

York learning

  • Early Start - Would you like to explore ideas and activities that will support your child’s early years development and begin to prepare them for school? Our Early Start courses are designed to focus on the early years learning goals of; Literacy, Numeracy, Communication, Physical, Creative, Social and Emotional development.
  • Stories, songs and rhymes - A free 5 week course to increase your confidence as a parent or carer in supporting children’s early learning through stories, songs and rhymes. Explore and share ideas to engage children in speech, language, communication and play, and understand how they can be adapted for children of different ages.
  • Keeping up with maths and English - Accredited courses designed for parents to get their skills up to speed. Leads to a Functional Skills qualification which is useful for all routes into employment, further education and careers.

For further information, and to book your place, telephone: 01904 554277, or email: [email protected], or visit:

Don't keep us a secret!

Don't forget to tell your friends and family about York Family Information Service! If you use Twitter or Facebook you can follow York Family Information Service online:

Register with the Information Service

Is your child under 3? By registering with our Information Service you'll receive tailored information (on an adhoc basis) about:

  • groups and activities
  • 2 year-old funding
  • opportunities to take part in research specific to the age of your child

Register with the Information Service.

Feedback on the service you've received

If you have any suggestions or comments about our newsletter and the types of articles featured, or you've been in touch with us, we'd like to hear from you!

Your feedback helps us to know how effective we are, and how we can improve; provide your feedback.

Blue arrow pointing upwards