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In this issue: Win A Family Holiday with Away Resorts Pull out reward chart Book quiz and competition

Issue 80 March/April 2020

News Get ready for the St Anns Manchester Midnight Walk

The city will be abuzz with excitement on Friday 24th April as people from across Greater Manchester swarm to its streets to take part in the 14th annual St Ann’s Manchester Midnight Walk. The event’s popular bee theme will be back this year and another familiar presence will be local company Betfred, which is sponsoring the 10km moonlit walk around some of Manchester’s most iconic landmarks for the sixth year. Chief Executive of St Ann’s Hospice, Eamonn O’Neal, said: “Our Manchester Midnight Walk is a key date in our diary,

and with the number of supporters joining us increasing every year, it’s clearly a highlight for our wonderful supporters across Greater Manchester too. The walk has raised more than £2million since it began, and the money raised helps St Ann’s to continue providing their specialist care to local patients and their families. “This year we’re hoping that Manchester city centre will be a bigger hive of activity than ever on the night. It really is wonderful to see so many people coming together to have fun and show their pride

for our city and support for Manchester’s hospice.” Group Head of Marketing at Betfred, Gemma Strath-Billington, said: “It’s an honour for Betfred to be sponsoring this fantastic event for the sixth year. The hospice is very close to Fred’s heart and his support has been a huge benefit to the hospice. The St Ann’s Team work endlessly to ensure that this event delivers on its fundraising goals. I look forward to attending and seeing the seas of yellow and black! Good luck to all the walkers taking part on Friday 24th April.” The walk starts at midnight,

and participants will take on a 10km loop which starts and ends at Manchester Cathedral. Warm up entertainment starts at 9pm, with music, disco and refreshments available before the walk begins. Eamonn added: “The Midnight Walk has been incredibly popular since we launched it 14 years ago, and as those who have taken part in the past know, there’s a real party atmosphere. Many walkers take part in memory of lost loved ones, whilst others join in simply for a night of fun and fundraising. “I’m looking forward to seeing lots of bees buzzing around on the route this year but anyone who isn’t a fan of dressing up shouldn’t worry, please still come along, everyone’s support is very much appreciated.” St Ann’s is asking participants to support it by pledging to raise £100 in Midnight Walk sponsorship this year. This amount could fund its ambulance for a day or provide a two-hour specialist rehabilitation session for one of its patients. Interested walkers can sign up to take part in the 10km moonlit stroll now, by visiting the website or calling 0161 498 3631.

Participate in British Science Week

Next issue: May/June 2020


Circulation: 30,000 copies of Families Manchester are available through nurseries, schools, libraries, selected shops and other points throughout Greater Manchester. If you would like free copies for your organisation, please let us know.


Editors: Karen Sykes

Design: WITH Creative, Congleton.

Contact details: Families Manchester 177 Buckstones Road, Shaw, OL2 8DF Contact details: Tel 01706 671664

2 Families Manchester

Events, diary dates, what’s on: Cover Photography: c

Print: Warwick Printers, Caswell Road Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CV31 1QD Tel: 01926 883355

British Science Week is a 10 day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths which takes place from 6 to 15 March. The annual festival features fascinating, entertaining and engaging events and activities across the UK, designed to appeal to families with children of all ages. Your child can also enter the

annual poster competition and/or download a series of FREE activity packs at www., filled with resources and ideas to try out at home or school. The good news is these activities don’t require parents to have a science background or buy any expensive equipment. To find your local event or activity, visit

Families Manchester is part of Families Print Ltd, a franchise company. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under licence. Families is a registered trademark of LCMB Ltd, Remenham House, Regatta Place, Marlow Road, Bourne End, Bucks SL8 5TD. The contents of Families Manchester are fully protected by copyright and none of the editorial or photographic matter may be reproduced in any form without prior consent of Families Manchester

Every care is taken in the preparation of this magazine, but Families Manchester, its distributors, the franchise company, Families Print Ltd and LCMB Ltd cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents, or any consequence thereof. @FamiliesMancMag

News Penarth Group School build community garden

After learning that 3.6 million older people in the UK live alone*, Penarth Group School in Stockport have been breaking down the barriers to link the community together by building a community garden for the local elderly. As part of the local WE Charity schools programme, students and staff have redesigned the school garden and purchased a garden house with thanks to a grant they received from The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. Their time volunteering created

a wonderful space for young and old to socialise together and appreciate the benefits of being outdoors. They even set up a small stall in the garden to raise money for a local foodbank. A small independent school specialising in supporting young people with social, emotional and mental health needs; Penarth Group School have also continued their fantastic work by taking part in WE Charity’s WE Scare Hunger campaign, where they gathered food parcels to donate to their local foodbank.

Stockport Grammar netballers head to nationals

Experience the joy of cricket with the England & Wales Cricket Board’s nationwide programme

All Stars Cricket is a programme aimed at children aged 5-8 years old to give them a great first experience in cricket. Sessions are accredited by the England & Wales Cricket Board and delivered nationwide at over 2,000 centres. All Stars Cricket will help your child develop key skills in a fun and safe environment where parents can join in too and help create #BigMoments you’ll both treasure! Following

successful registration, All Stars Cricketers will receive a brand-new kit bag full of goodies to help them get their summer of cricket started and fully look the part when they attend their 8 weekly sessions and it’s all delivered straight to your door. To find out more about how to get involved this summer, simply visit and get your place booked as sessions begin May2020.

Discover national parks this Spring

The Under 14 Netball team from Stockport Grammar has had a fantastic start to 2020 after qualifying for the National Schools Finals in March. The girls won their group in the Regional Finals - which contained The Grange School, Sedbergh School, Scarisbrick Hall School and St Wilfrid’s Church of England Academy. They then went on to defeat Wirral Grammar School for Girls 10-8. SGS’s Head of Girls’ Games, Mrs Laura Goddard said: “We are delighted and very proud of this amazing achievement by the girls.” It’s been a successful start to the year across the sports at SGS

with pupils throughout the school putting in inspiring performances and achieving impressive cup progression. The Under 15 rugby and hockey teams have both reached the Quarter Final stages of national competitions. The Under 15 rugby players have progressed to the Quarter Finals after playing strongly against the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School side, in the North ‘A’ Final of the National Cup. The Under 15 hockey team are through to the Quarter Finals of the Independent National Plate after seeing off Stonyhurst College in a hard-fought Round Two tie.

Saturday 4 April marks the start of Discover National Parks Fortnight, a celebration event aimed at inspiring people of all ages to explore outside and learn more about these special places. There are fifteen National Parks in the UK, spanning the length and breadth of the country. Ten in England, three in Wales and two in Scotland. National Parks protect almost 10% of England, 20% of Wales

and 8% of Scotland. The UK-wide celebration includes a wide range of events and activities running throughout the Easter holidays, including guided walks, geocaching and wildlife experiences at every park. These events offer families a great opportunity to explore, learn, relax and unwind. To find about more visit: discover

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Education Ten great educational apps for children By Claire Winter

Children learn in many different ways including outside of the classroom. This is where educational apps can come in very useful as the best of these engage even the most reluctant learner. As well as being fun ways to learn, educational apps also turn screen time into a positive experience, rather than something you are constantly arguing with your children about. Here are our top ten educational apps that will keep any child ‘appy!’ Cursive Writing Wizard (£4.99) By L’Escapadou Age 6-8 This version provides a UK-friendly cursive font, and is ideal for teaching young primary kids how to write. It’s based upon a tracing system and there are 50 plus animated stickers, sound effects and interactive games that animate letters at the end of the tracing. You can also print off writing PDFs for the kids to practice on and even import their current spelling list.

Safari Tales (£2.99) By Kuato Games Age 6-8 Children can develop their storytelling skills with this beautiful and fun animal-themed app. Safari adventurers can explore the Savannah and learn interesting facts about the five baby animals. The game is so much fun they won’t even notice that they’re boosting their reading and literacy skills at the same time. Endless Wordplay (Free + In App Purchase) By Originator Inc. All ages This app focuses on learning simple spelling patterns while

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For more information please call 0161 624 4497 or email us for further details.



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reinforcing letter names and sounds. Each stage is a different rhyme, with the user spelling three words from the same word family. Once you complete all three words, you are taken to a sentence screen with a silly sentence and cute animation that will encourage and delight the player. It’s free to download but to play more than three levels you have to pay £4.99. Toca Lab: Elements (£3.99) By Toca Boca Age 6-8 This funky app is a virtual chemistry set to inspire future scientists. It introduces your child to all 118 elements of the periodic table as cool, fun characters. It also presents the concepts of what happens during chemical reactions when they are warmed, cooled, combined and much more. Your kids can indulge in exciting virtual experiments that won’t blow up your house! Hoopa City (£3.99) By Dr. Panda Ltd Age 6-8 This engaging app allows children to let their imaginations run wild building cities and towns with a combination of different materials. The game will boost their understanding of mechanics and engineering and also help them develop their problem-solving skills. The Human Body (£3.99) By Tinybop Inc Age 6-8 If you have a budding biologist or child with a ‘why’ imagination then this is the app for them. Explore the human body and learn about how our amazing internal organs perform.

Artie’s Magic Pencil (£2.99) By Minilab Ltd Age 3-5 Boost your child’s drawing skills with this creative app. It shows 3-6 year olds how to draw by means of an engaging game in which a monster destroys everything in its path and Artie has to rebuild the world with his magic pencil. Squeebles Times Tables (£3.99) By KeyStageFun If you are tired of getting your child to repeat their times tables again and again, then get these lovable characters on hand to inspire your child to sit and practice them. There are several engaging games to play and a training area that teaches and tests maths skills too. EduGuru Maths (£1.99) By The Game Creators Specifically created for children ages 3 to 5 years, this app brings maths to life with cute animated graphics which will get them engaged straight away. It concentrates on basic maths skills, shapes, sequences, coins and number recognition. Toddler Counting 123 – Learn to count for kids (Free) By GiggleUp Kids Apps Teach your toddler to count with this fantastic free app. Designed for pre-schoolers, this simple game gets them to tap and count a variety of real-life objects. Are there any apps that your kids love? Let us know on our Facebook page! FamiliesCheshire

Education 60 seconds with a KSOL 11+ tutor Paul, Senior KSOL 11+ tutor What is the 11+? The 11+ is a highly competitive set of entrance exams taken by children at the start of Year 6, when applying to a grammar or independent school. What’s in the 11+ exam? Trafford 11+ exams include multiple choice question papers with timed sections which may cover: Technical English, Comprehension, Verbal, Non-Verbal Reasoning (NVR) and Mathematical Skills. The exam boards used for the 11+ exam in Trafford are CEM and GL Assessment. How can parents prepare children for the 11+? KSOL provide online 11+ courses and run 11+ mock exams throughout the year to help benchmark ability and to familiarise children with: • the format of the exam paper • the style of questions and content • the live exam environment

Why should children sit 11+ mock exams? We don’t want children to become nervous by the atmosphere in the real exam, so it’s important for them to experience this formal setting in order to build confidence. Sitting mock exams also enables parents to benchmark their child’s ability at each stage in the year and work on any weak areas. Whether this is a particular 11+ topic, exam technique or poor time management, identifying and tackling these areas will boost a child’s performance on the day. KSOL are Award-Winning 11+ specialists with over 16 years of experience. Upcoming 11+ mock exam dates in Trafford: 14th March, 16th May and 11th July. Call us on 0161 327 2003 and quote EXAMT10OFF to SAVE £10! Visit to find out more about KSOL 11+ online tuition for children in Years 3, 4 & 5.

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STOCKPORT GRAMMAR SCHOOL An independent school for children from 3-18 years FOUNDED IN 1487

Assistance with fees available at 11+ and 16+ (means tested), academic and music scholarships

Junior School and Pre-Reception Open Morning Saturday 2nd May 10am - 12pm Come and spend a day in the Senior School - Year 5 Taster Days 13th May, 21st May and 9th June To book call 0161 419 2408 Senior and Junior School day tours available Extensive school bus routes including Sale, Altrincham and Hale

SGS Inspires Tel: 0161 456 9000

Highest Inspection Rating of “Excellent” 2019 Families Manchester 5

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Creative Digital Design, and new courses such as Artificial Intelligence and how to start a tech start-up. Each course is taught by tutors from some of the UK’s leading universities. Fire Tech are running courses over the Easter and summer holidays at Cheadle Hulme School. Courses run for 5 days.

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Clubs & classes Having fewer toys may be better

Advertise in Families Manchester Email

You’ve probably suspected it – well, it may now have been confirmed! Children who have too many toys are more easily distracted, and do not enjoy quality playtime, a new study suggests. Researchers at the University of Toledo in Ohio, US, recruited 36 toddlers and invited them to play in a room for half an hour, with either four toys, or sixteen toys. They found that youngsters were far more creative when they had fewer toys to play

with. They also played with each for twice as long, thinking up more uses for each toy and lengthening and expanding their games. The authors of the study conclude that parents, schools and nurseries should pack away most of their toys and just rotate a small number regularly, to encourage children to become more creative and improve their attention spans. More info:


Moments Have fun, make friends and learn skills that last a lifetime Find your nearest programme and register at

Includes personalised kit!

Families Manchester 7

Kids clubs activities Header

STEP 3 STEP 1 STEP 2 Tell your Fill in daily child when to Explain behaviour rewards your colour in the targets animals! child will receive

Day 1

Day 1

Day 2

Day 2

Day 2



t the Real Animals!

Day 3

Day 3

Day 3

Day 4

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15/01/2020 16:44

Email for extra copies of the chart!

Day 4

✹ ✹ ✹

How to Enter: Email an image of your child’s completed chart to with your child’s name, age, your postcode and up to 50 words from you or your child explaining how the chart has helped them achieve their targets. You have until 30 June 2020 to enter.

WIN Family Tickets for a day at a UK Zoo or Wildlife Park of your choice! Tickets are valid for two adults and two children.

The Grrreat Colour-In Reward Chart

I will...

I will...

I will...

Day 1

Competition T&Cs at

When I have coloured in all my animals, we can enter the competition to go to the zoo!

reward chart landscape.indd 1

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Kids clubs activities PICTURE CROSSWORD


Can you solve the picture clues and put them in the crossword? 1

Can you unscramble the letters to spell out the names of five popular book characters?



1. d i a t m l a

1 3



2. p e t h o r r a t y r


3. k t e r a c y r e b a e





4. f g e e l f r y e g h 8

5. l g p i c n p s k i p g t o o i n

6 7


When you’re done, unscramble the circled letters to spell a special message!


The answers are: 1. Matilda 2. Harry Potter 3. Tracey Beaker 4. Greg Heffley 5. Pippi Longstocking. Message is: Happy Reading








6 7

36 34








Join the dots to say hello to a fluffy springtime friend! Why not colour in when you’re done?



27 17

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23 18 22 21



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Parents’ place

WIN a Family Holiday at an Away Resort of your choice*! WIN a Family Holiday at an Away Resort of your Choice*! Just take part in Wear a Hat on 27 March to raise money for Brain Tumour Research. Away Resorts offers family holidays at award-winning holiday parks, each superbly located and unique. Mill Rythe on Hayling Island offers a holiday jam-packed with activities from zorbing to an outdoor high ropes course, plus daytime and evening entertainment.

Sandy Balls in the New Forest gets you back to nature; delve into the forest with its resident alpacas, enjoy a serene spa, fantastic on-site restaurants, and an array of activities including cycling and swimming. Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire is a water world away. From fishing and pedalos to jet-skiing and a water aqua park, there’s fabulous on-site restaurants, rooftop bars, indoor/outdoor splashpads and activity programmes for all.

Whitecliff Bay on the Isle of Wight offers the perfect balance, with rolling countryside on one side and a beautiful sandy beach on the other. The park bustles with great on-site activities to keep your family busy. To Enter: 1. Register for Wear a Hat Day 2020 at and take part on 27 March. 2. Email your competition entry to with your full name and

post code or enter online at by 30 April 2020. Use the same email address, name and post code for both steps 1 and 2. T&Cs: *Excludes Mersea Island Holiday Park and Barmouth Bay Holiday Park. Prize is for a seven-night stay for two adults and two children. Accommodation provided will be of Superior or Luxury grade at Sandy Balls, Tattershall Lakes and Whitecliff Bay, and Ambassador at Mill Rythe, subject to availability. Prize value will be dependent on location and time of year chosen. More T&Cs online.

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10 Families Manchester

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exceeding expectations

Health The doctor will see you now Healthier Easter cookies

We all know how difficult it can be to get a doctor’s appointment. Surgery lines are engaged and when you do get through, you’re told there isn’t another slot for two weeks, which you need to fit in around work and the school run. Trying to book a doctor’s appointment can be exhausting but a newly launched clinic, promises to make seeing a GP a total breeze and you won’t have to wait! The Doctors Clinic Group, which recently launched in Manchester after a six-year success in London, offers easily accessible and convenient same-day GP appointments including for children who are accompanied by a parent.

As parents juggling work, family and general life, it’s easy for our health to take a backseat. With The Doctors Clinic Group there is no need to sacrifice your plans or take time off work - they work around you, not the other way round. You can see a doctor in clinic or via video ( available from anywhere in the UK). As well as standard appointments, you can get access to over 35 different services including fast blood tests, sexual health, wellness screens, physio and hay fever remedies including a long lasting injection* All the doctors are trained in mental health and can provide fast referrals to specialist care and consultants including psychiatrists and psychotherapy. They also offer services to employers including occupational health. To book an appointment please contact:

These are easy to make, with plenty of opportunities for the kids to get involved with mashing, measuring and mixing. They’re made healthier with the use of bananas and oats, but still offer the satisfying chocolate hit we all love! Makes 12 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 12 minutes Ingredients 2 bananas 3 tbsp honey 2 tbsp cocoa 150g rolled oats 80g chocolate mini eggs

Instructions Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), 180°C fan, Gas Mark 6. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper. Mash the bananas in a large bowl, then add the maple syrup and mix well. Stir in the cocoa and oats until evenly combined. Divide the mixture into 12 (about 2 level tablespoons each) and roll into balls. Place them on the baking trays. Press a teaspoon into the centre of each cookie to create a nest shape. Bake for 12 minutes, then cool on a wire rack. Add a couple of chocolate mini eggs to the centre of each cookie. You’ll find more great recipe ideas in Get Your Kids to Eat Anything by Emily Leary (, published by Mitchell Beazley, RRP £16.99 and available online and in all good bookshops.

Air quality is worse indoors New eBooks encourage children to eat vegetables

Air Quality is Worse Indoors A new report into the state of air pollution in UK households has found that our homes are experiencing dangerous levels of indoor air pollution. The report commissioned by Clean Air Day found that nearly half of UK homes have high indoor air pollution as a result of dangerous levels of formaldehyde and other pollutants. Data also shows that outdoor air pollution adds to indoor air pollution; it builds up in the home, taking longer to disperse inside than outside. According to the British Lung

Foundation children are particularly sensitive to poor indoor air quality as their lungs are proportionally larger in relation to their body weight than adults and immature immune systems mean they are less able to fight off any problems that arise from polluted indoor air. Sources of indoor air pollution include smoking, faulty boilers, open fires, gas cookers and heaters, as well as irritant chemicals from new furniture, air fresheners and household cleaning products. More info: www.cleanairday. and

Parents of fussy eaters can now access new FREE resources courtesy of the ‘See & Eat’ project, an initiative supported by the British Nutrition Foundation, to support parents in persuading their children to eat more vegetables. Resources include 24 new eBooks which can be downloaded from the ‘See & Eat’ website. These have been developed based on past

research which has shown that showing hard-copy picture books about vegetables to children helps to familiarise them with new food and ultimately, helps them to eat a wider variety. The ‘See & Eat’ eBooks each tell the farm to fork journey of a different vegetable and can be personalised with pictures, videos and text. To access eBooks, visit www.

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Health Organised activity options for your child under 5 By Gabrielle Nash

source of books and resources to a young child and highlighting the importance of reading. Sensory or Music Though not free, sensory or music classes can be lots of fun for older babies and toddlers. They are a fantastic opportunity for little ones to make a noise with their voices and with instruments, move around creatively and explore a new environment, all conveniently facilitated by a professional. You get a much needed chance to sit back and watch your child having fun, without having to provide it yourself!

If you ask mums and dads about what activities they enjoyed with their children when they were very young, many will speak fondly of their favourite playgroup or class. Such activities can become a lifeline for parents during those isolating and overwhelming first years and they’re essential when you’re desperate for some adult conversation. Of course, classes and groups are also a great opportunity for you to bond with your baby and give them early opportunities for socialization too. Maybe you have already pre-booked a weekly sensory, music or swimming class for your little one or perhaps you’re at home reading this with your baby or young toddler, thinking of ways to entertain them (and you) this week. Or maybe you’re finding it tough just getting out to the shops. However you’re feeling,

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there’s no doubt that getting yourself along to something social can be hugely beneficial for you and your child. Sarah has one daughter, now aged almost 4, and speaks fondly of the classes they participated in: “I loved having a music class booked each week with my 18 month old. It was something to look forward to – she loved the music and I enjoyed meeting other mums and drinking a rare coffee while it was still hot!” So, what’s the best way to find a class or group? You’ll regularly find local options in this magazine and, as well as your local mum friends, you can also ask the wider local parent community on social media – word of mouth is great for a recommendation. It’s worth checking out your local Children’s Centre and library for suggestions too – some of these may be free. Next, which type of class or group should you go for? This may

depend on the options available where you live, as well as on your budget. Playgroup If your main aim is to get something regular in the diary that is easy, cheap and good for meeting other parents with similarly aged children, then your local church or community playgroup is a great option. Playgroups are often central parts of a local community so if you’re new or unfamiliar to an area you can find local support both from those attending and those running the group. Library Most local libraries have a weekly story or rhyme time session. These are simple drop-in activities and chances to socialise that can form a regular part of your week. They are almost always free! A library activity is also a great way of introducing this important

Swimming or Gym If something a bit more physical appeals to you, then baby swimming or a gym/soft play-based class might be right for your child. Baby swimming can be a beautiful way to bond with your baby and a gym-based class is great way for very active toddlers and pre-schoolers to burn off energy, as well as develop their gross motor skills. Classes for YOU Whilst it’s harder with a toddler, when you have a baby, there are many activities aimed at you which your baby can attend too. Whether it’s an outdoor exercise or yoga class or a baby friendly cinema showing, the change of environment is fun and stimulating for your baby too. You may even get to improve your fitness! Any children’s group or class will support a child’s development: the routine, the opportunities for socialising and the experience of being in a new environment. So if it helps YOU get out of the house, share happy times with your child and get talking and meeting other parents in your situation, then nothing could be more worthwhile. Follow Gaby @thelondonishmum

Childcare Are you up to speed on tax free childcare? By Sarah-Jane Butler

website. It is essential to do this prior to the term in which they are entitled to the benefit. For example, if your child turns 3 in November, you will be entitled to the additional 15 hours from 1 January, therefore you must apply prior to 31 December. Again, every three months you will be asked to re-confirm your eligibility. What Next? Firstly, parents should check their eligibility and entitlements for any of the offerings. It’s also important to fully understand the financial impact of such changes on your family.

Tax-Free Childcare was introduced by the Government in April 2017 to replace Childcare Vouchers. At the same time it also increased free childcare hours. Whereas previously, childcare vouchers were a benefit offered by employers and free childcare hours were simply provided by nurseries, there is now a registration process and an eligibility criteria for both. Are you Eligible? Yes , IF: • Both parents are working (or a sole parent is working) • Both earn over £131 per week • Employed or self-employed • Live in England • You have at least one child aged 0-12 years old No, IF: • Either Parent earns over £100,000 per annum • You are a two-parent household in which only one parent works • You are receiving Tax Credits, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers through your employer

Tax-Free Childcare The Tax-free Childcare Scheme is similar to corporate childcare vouchers in that it helps parents with funding towards the cost of childcare. However, it is administered for parents by the government and not by employers. Parents must open an online account and the Government will pay £2 for every £8 paid into the account by the parent up to a maximum of £2,000 every year (i.e. a Government contribution of up to £500 per quarter). Parents will then be able to pay their Ofsted registered childcare provider (nursery, childminder, nanny or holiday club) directly from this account provided the childcare provider is linked to that account through its Ofsted registration number. The benefit of this new scheme is that it is calculated per child (not per parent), therefore those with more children and higher childcare costs should be at an advantage. In addition, those that are self-employed, who were not previously entitled to join company schemes, are eligible under the new scheme.

Unfortunately, though, there are disadvantages too: namely that every three months you need to re-confirm eligibility for the scheme (which can be an administrative burden). The scheme is also ONLY available for children up to age 12 (compared to age 15 under the previous scheme) and, of course, parents must meet the eligibility criteria consistently throughout the year. This means that in the event of a bonus or commission, some parents may be taken above the eligibility maximum threshold of £100,000 per year or below the minimum of £131 per week in the event of unemployment or redundancy. 15 and 30 Hours Free Childcare If parents meet the Tax Free Childcare Eligibility criteria above, they are also entitled to additional 15 hours free (hence the name ‘30 hours free’ childcare) which is offered for 38 weeks a year (roughly in line with school terms). In order to apply for the additional 15 hours, parents need to register via the Childcare Choices

Free Hours Due to funding issues, most nurseries are offering increased hours, but not necessarily the full 30. Nurseries cannot charge you extra fees for the additional hours, but they can structure their hours in a way that you are still liable to pay for certain attendance. Check the specific offering of any nursery in which you wish to enrol your child. Considerations If you are still in a childcare voucher scheme through your employer (because you were registered before 1 October 2018) you may wish to consider which scheme is right for you. You can find out more and check your eligibility at Many parents, particularly those with high earnings, will be better off sticking with their company childcare vouchers. However, there will be those who would benefit from the Government scheme. Check out the calculator childcare-calculator Sarah-Jane Butler is Founder and CEO of Parental Choice, a “one-stop shop” designed to help you find the perfect childcare solution for your family. For more information, visit

Families Manchester 13


Fabulous Families book quiz and competition Encourage your child to have a go!

With World Book Day having just passed, you and your child may have been thinking quite a bit about books and reading already this Spring. So now’s the perfect time to test your knowledge! Families has teamed up with Young Writers to bring you this amazing quiz. It’s divided into two sections for ages 4 to 7 and ages 8 to 11. We have a £50 National Book Voucher for the winner of the ages 4 to 7 category. Thanks to Young Writers, we have a fantastic book bundle of 10 books for the winner of the ages 8 to 11 category, including popular, recently published books such as You Won’t Believe This by Adam

14 Families Manchester

Baron, Agatha Oddly Murder at the Museum by Lena Jones and What’s that in Dog Years? by Ben Davis. To enter the competition, just email info@familiesmagazine. with your child’s name, age, your telephone number and answers to the questions in the relevant section. Closing date: 15 June 2020. Only one entry per child please! Look out for the answers to the quiz in our next magazine or request them in your email entry. T&Cs online. Young Writers organise poetry and creative writing competitions for children in schools. For further information, visit

Ages 4 to 7 Years 1. Name 3 fruits the Hungry Caterpillar ate. 2. In the Charlie and Lola books, what is Lola’s invisible friend called? 3. Which book series do the characters Bottomley Potts and Blitzer Maloney feature? 4. Which animal visits Sophie and her mummy one tea time? 5. Who wrote Where the Wild Things Are? 6. Who was there ‘Room on the Broom’ for? 7. What is the name of the boy who builds The Snowman? 8. What is the name of Biff and Chip’s dog? 9. Who lives in Hundred Acre Wood? 10. Aliens, pirates and dinosaurs love these… 11. Who is Perfect Peter’s rather naughty brother? 12. What are the names of the witch and cat Valerie Thomas writes about?

Ages 8 to 11 Years 1. Where do Silky, Moon Face and Saucepan Man live? 2. How is Stanley Lambchop better known? 3. Who is the main character in Diary of Wimpy Kid? 4. Who does Barney meet when exploring an old chalk pit? 5. In the book Holes, who gets sent to Camp Green Lake Juvenile Detention Centre? 6. Who wrote about characters called James, Matilda, Sophie and Charlie? 7. Which David Walliams’ book is his character Joe from? 8. What are Mary Norton’s tiny characters called? 9. Who is the main character in The Bed and Breakfast Star by Jacqueline Wilson 10. In which book series does Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III appear? 11. The dormouse, a gryphon, a mock turtle and a rabbit are characters from which classic children’s book? 12. Who wrote My Brother’s Famous Bottom book series?

What’s on

These listings are for guidance only – please check before you go To include your upcoming event in our listings, email or upload your event listing to our website -

Friday 6th March to 14th May

Opera House Manchester 7.30pm, matinees 2.30pm Back To The Future Musical. Book online at

Saturday 7th March - Monday 20th April

Great Northern Warehouse, Peter St, Manchester, M2 4EJ The Art of Brick Daily from 10am. The exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the use of Lego bricks as an art medium. Tickets from £14.50, under 3’s free

Sunday 8th March

Z Arts, Hulme Family Fun day 10-2. Free to attend. Booking required. Tickets available now at events/z-access-family-fun-day/

(2 adults and up to 3 children) - £19. Visit the adopt an animal page on our website for more information.

Monday 16th March onwards

Jodrell Bank, Cheshire Daily Telescope Walking Tours 2.30pm (weekdays) (Weekends) 11.45am and 2.30pm. Free with general admission. We host our popular Telescope Walking Tours daily where you can join one of our friendly Explainers as they take you for a stroll around the base of the impressive Lovell Telescope. You’ll find out more about how the Grade 1 listed Telescope works, explore its fascinating history and discover some of its ground-breaking research. Walking Tours last around 45 minutes, will take place indoors if wet and are available on a drop-in basis. Talks are aimed at adults and children aged 10+

Monday 9th March

Clarence Park, Bury BL9 6LL Mon/Thurs and some Sat. 11-2 Wheels For All. £3 No booking required. For more details visit buryw4a

Friday 13th - Sunday 15th March

Event City, Trafford Baby & Toddler Show From 10am. The UK’s biggest & best with over 150 top brands and unique products at the best prices alongside expert advice to give new and expectant parents in the North West everything they need to give their baby the best start. For more information visit babyandtoddlershownw.seetickets. com/tour/baby-toddler-show

Saturday 14th March

Dunham Massey Percy The Park Keeper-Meet the Author 11am. Ticket price £7. In this fun, interactive session Nick will bring Percy’s park to life with stories and live drawing. Find out about his new book, One Springy Day. Percy the Park Keeper books and merchandise will be available to purchase for signing after the event or you can bring along your own Percy books. Book on 0344 249 1895 or online at percy-the-park-keeper-meet-nickbutterworth-tickets-90593145537 Manchester High School for Girls. Jo from Adventure Babies South Manchester, will be bringing her interactive story-telling sessions, followed by sensory activities and messy play, to the Preparatory Department at Manchester High School for Girls. Suitable for babies up to 18 months old, the sessions are just £5 with tea, coffee, cookies and a special goody bag included for each family. Everyone is very welcome. Places can be booked via: classes/south-manchester-altrincham/

Sunday 15th March

Tatton Park. Adopt a Farm Animal 11am-4pm. Come along to the Farm and meet our special, rare breed animals which are up for adoption. Choose from Prancer the Reindeer, Blossom the Clydesdale Horse, Tallulah the Tamworth Pig and Frosty the Donkey. Cost Adult - £7, Child (4 - 15 years) - £5, Family

Friday 27th - Sunday 29th March

Saturday 21st March

Oldham Coliseum Theatre. Rapunzel. 1.30pm & 4.30pm. Let your hair down and get tangled in a brand-new musical adaptation of the classic fairy tale. Tickets-Adult £14, Child £12, Family of 4 £48 Book tickets at

Oldham Coliseum Theatre Zog Adult ticket £14.50, Child £12.50, Family of 4 £50. Choose your day and time then book tickets at

Saturday 28th March

Dunham Massey Follow the trail around the garden to receive a Cadbury chocolate reward (while stocks last). Pick up your garden ticket and trail from the Visitor Centre on the day. £2.50 per trail. Normal admissions apply. Z Arts, Hulme Arthur’s Dream Boat 11am and 2.30pm Based on a book by Polly Dunbar it is the story about a little boy who has a dream about a beautiful pink and green boat

with a stripy mast. He can’t wait to tell everyone about it but no one (not even his dog!) is interested. In fact, they don’t even notice that this very same boat is growing on his head, getting larger and larger by the minute! Soon, Arthur is bouncing along the waves in his very own dream boat. Maybe now his family will listen to him! A magical playful children’s show with breathtaking puppets, so enchanting that everyone will want to sail away with Arthur in his dream boat! This show is brought to you by Long Nose Puppets, makers of Shoe Baby, Penguin and Out of the Hat! Tickets from £6 available at arthurs-dreamboat/

Friday 3rd - Sunday 19th April

Oldham Coliseum Jungle Book Mowgli the man cub battles for survival in this wild musical adaptation of The Jungle Book. For show times, more information and to book tickets go to the-jungle-book/

Gallery Oldham. A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmaggedon 2pm. Film-related arts and crafts take place before each movie from 12noon – 2pm in the foyer. Tickets cost £3 and include a goodie bag for kids. Advance booking is recommended. Visit for listings and bookings.

Saturday 21st - Sunday 22nd March

The Tiger Who Came to Tea ON LIVE GE! STA

Lowry Theatre, Salford Tiger Who Came To Tea Direct from the West End, the Olivier Award nominated smash hit show, The Tiger Who Came to Tea returns to The Lowry! The doorbell rings just as Sophie and her mummy are sitting down to tea. Who could it possibly be? What they certainly don’t expect to see at the door is a big, stripy tiger! Join the tea-guzzling tiger in this delightful family show; packed with oodles of magic, sing-a-long songs and clumsy chaos! Playing at The Lowry from Sat 21 to Sun 22 March, book now at for the purrfect family treat! Tickets from £14. Book online at the-tiger-who-came-to-tea/

Families Manchester 15

What’s on Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th April

Gallery Oldham Holiday Fun from 1-4pm. Gallery Oldham is full of fun events for families, with activities most suitable for children aged 4 – 10 years. All creative activities are free (£2 charge for face painting) Children must be accompanied by an adult at all family sessions. If you are bringing a group of 10 or more please book in advance so we can be sure to cater for the group. For more information please get in touch 0161 770 4742 or email

These listings are for guidance only – please check before you go To include your upcoming event in our listings, email or upload your event listing to our website -

Thursday 9th Saturday 18th April

Stanneybrook Road, Failsworth, M35 9WJ. Daisy Nook Country Easter Fair. 1-6pm. Free entry

Friday 10th - Monday 13th April

Tatton Park Easter Fun Weekend From 10am. Come and join us for a long weekend of Easter Fun! Enjoy trails around the Mansion, Garden and Farm with costumed characters, lambs at the Farm, magic and puppet shows, storytelling, garden games and much more! Normal admission charges apply. Tickets Adult £7, Child £5, Family £19, under 4’s go free

Tuesday 7th April

Imperial War Museum North, The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester, M17 1TZ 11am-3pm. Free drop in. Tuesdays and Thursdays 7th to 16th April. This Easter, visitors will have a very special opportunity to meet war veterans and eyewitnesses, including those who lived through the Second World War, the Cold War and the Korean and Falkland Wars, to hear their personal stories of conflict. Veterans will recount tales of their wartime life, giving visitors first-hand insights into the impact of war on people’s lives. Please note that due to the unique nature of this event, eyewitness availability may vary.

Tuesday 7th - Sunday 12th April

Lowry Theatre, Salford Tickets from £17.50. For show times, more information and to book go to room-on-the-broom/

Friday, 10th & Sunday, 12th April

Sneaky Experience Join everyone’s favourite rabbit, Peter and all his woodland friends, in a magical Easter Experience. Cheeky rabbits, Flo & Mo are on an adventure with Benji Bunny, and discover what naughty squirrels Nutty & Timmy Toptoes have been up to no wonder Gemima is in such a fluster! Expect an enchanting family experience, which will create magical memories for young and old, plus plenty of photo opportunities with Peter, as he gives all children taking part; a full sized chocolate Easter egg. Friday, 10th April: Fletcher Moss Gardens, Didsbury Sunday, 12th April: Capesthorne Hall, Macclesfield Adult: £7.50 | Child: £9.95 (inc Easter Egg)

An Oldham Coliseum Theatre production Presented in arrangement with Children’s Theatre Partnership / Fiery Angel London

A wild musical for the whole family to enjoy this Easter By Jessica Swale Music by Joe Stilgoe Based on the stories by Rudyard Kipling Directed by Sarah Punshon Designed by Katie Scott Musical Direction by Tayo Akinbode

Plus Jungle Fun Family Activities Monday 6 & Friday 17 April

Box Office: 0161 624 2829 Oldham Coliseum Theatre Fairbottom Street, Oldham, OL1 3SW

Oldham Coliseum Theatre is a Registered Charity, no. 508829. Oldham Coliseum Theatre Ltd Reg no. 1415547

16 Families Manchester

Portland Basin Museum, Portland Place, Ashton-under-Lyne. OL7 0QA. 11am-3pm. Portland Basin goes all ‘Dippy’ on this day full of prehistoric adventures. From being creative with ‘Dino’ egg, to following the Jurassic footsteps. It’s a great FREE fun day for the whole family.

Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th April

Gallery Oldham Holiday Fun from 1-4pm. Gallery Oldham is full of fun events for families, with activities most suitable for children aged 4 – 10 years. All creative activities are free (£2 charge for face painting) Children must be accompanied by an adult at all family sessions. If you are bringing a group of 10 or more please book in advance so we can be sure to cater for the group. For more information please get in touch 0161 770 4742 or email

Tuesday 14th - Friday 17th April

Tandle Hill County Park OL2 5UX Easter Adventures Full day 9am-3pm £30. Eco Ed Forest Schools’ Holiday Camps offer children a chance to learn new skills throughout their holidays whilst immersed in the great outdoors. Suitable for children aged 4 – 14 the sessions allow children to explore freely through unstructured, child led play. Participants are encouraged to explore physical and emotional boundaries whilst developing a love of nature and an understanding of appropriate risk. During the day we try to foster a sense of team work where people recognise that the whole is greater than it’s individual parts, all of whom rely on each other to flourish. Book via Eco Ed Forest School on Facebook

Friday 17th and Saturday 18th April

Friday 3 Sunday 19 April

Sponsored by

Monday 13 April

Imperial War Museum North, The Quays, Trafford Wharf, Manchester, M17 1TZ. 11am-4pm. Free drop in. This Easter, Imperial War Museums have partnered up with Puffin Books. Take part in exciting undercover events in the museum, to celebrate the launch of new book Find the Spy. Put your family through their paces in a crash course spy school. Inspired by real life spies, have you got what it takes to be the next James Bond? Assemble at 11am each day for your secret mission! Throughout the day you will dress

up to look the part, learn some top secret coding skills, and do a physical assault course and reconnaissance mission with Commando Joes. Alongside our fascinating objecthandling, immersive theatre and fun-filled activities.

Saturday 18th April

Dunham Massey 10.30am-4pm. Share in fifty years of a really remarkable cat! Explore Dunham Massey for the first of a series of trails and activities based on Judith Kerr’s classic character throughout 2020 for her 50th anniversary year. Pick up your garden ticket from the Visitor Centre and your trail map at the garden kiosk. Normal admissions apply.

Saturday 18th sSunday 19th April

Lowry Theatre, Salford In The Night Garden Live! Join Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka and friends at In the Night Garden Live for a brand-new show! You’ll see all your favourite characters beautifully brought to life with full-size costumes, magical puppets, and enchanting music that will keep your little ones captivated. Various times. Tickets from £16.50 available from whats-on/in-the-night-garden-live/

Friday 24th April

Manchester City Centre. St Anns Hospice Manchester Midnight Walk From 9pm. The walk starts at midnight, and participants will take on a 10km loop which starts and ends at Manchester Cathedral. Interested walkers can sign up to take part in the 10km moonlit stroll now by visiting the website or calling 0161 498 3631.

Saturday 25th April

Gallery Oldham The Railway Children (film) 2pm. Film-related arts and crafts take place before each movie from 12noon – 2pm in the foyer. Tickets cost £3 and include a goodie bag for kids. Advance booking is recommended. Visit for listings and bookings.

Sunday 26th April

Dr Kershaw’s Hospice, Turf Lane, Royton. Hospice to Hospice Walk From 9.15am. Join us for the 7.25-mile circular route which has a halfway stop at our neighbours, Springhill Hospice, with sandwiches and drinks back at the start. Sign up here https://drkershawshospice.

Saturday 9th May Saturday 6th June

Hope Mill Theatre, 113 Pollard St Manchester M4 7JA. Cinderella. Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella comes to Hope Mill Theatre this Spring with the fully staged UK premiere of this classic fairytale. Brought to life in an enchanting musical by the duo behind Oklahoma, Carousel and South Pacific. Tickets from £18. Book now on or call 0161 275 9141 (line open from 12pm to 5pm Mon to Fri)

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Easter issue


Easter issue