THE council is urging more parents to make use of the town's children's centres.

The rollout of the new centres is already making youngsters' lives better in deprived areas.

But the council's Surestart partnership manager Carmel Burton says not enough parents are taking advantage of the services on offer.

Children's centres exist in Drove Road, Pinehurst, Freshbrook, Middleleaze, Park North and Westcott Street and the final touches are being made to one in Gorse Hill.

Three more will follow for Grange Infants School, Moredon and Eldene schools.

The latest centres, which the Government has funded with £4.5m, are expected to be finished in March next year.

They offer crèches, childminder training, education for children and advice on bringing them up.

Mrs Burton said: "A children's centre is a one-stop shop of services for children under five and their families.

"Quite a number of these services weren't available before. They are local so people don't have to come into town."

She said before the centres were created 30 per cent of appointments arranged for children's speech therapy at the Carfax health centre were missed.

In comparison there is a zero non-attendance rate at the children's centre in Park North.

Each centre will have a parental advisory board so families can shape what services they receive.

Even though the council wants to help more children, it is still pleased with the uptake, with the children's centre in Beech Avenue proving extremely popular.

"In an average month, we have over 200 families accessing the children's centre for Penhill and Pinehurst," said Mrs Burton.

She wants to spread the word to families who don't yet visit their centre, so children don't miss out.

"It makes life better for children," Ms Burton said. "They get a better start and then can achieve more. They are more likely to go into school as confident little people ready to learn."

None of the centres has reached saturation yet and Ms Burton hopes they won't.

North Swindon MP Michael Wills said: "These children's centres will bring a huge benefit. "They can transform the opportunities for children. There is a good record for their use already but we want to build on it."