New complementary health clinics specialising in the treatment of babies and young children are now available in Whitehawk, Hollingdean, and at the Phoenix Community Centre.

The good news is more are in the pipeline.

These outreach clinics are organised and run by practitioners from the Children's Clinic at Dolphin House, a charity established 18 years ago to pioneer affordable and accessible complementary health care for the children of families on lower incomes.

Mothers can also receive treatment during pregnancy and for the first months after the birth of their child.

The health of the baby is often influenced by the health of the mother.

These community clinics set Brighton and Hove apart from other cities.

Homeopathy is available at all the venues. Parents and carers visiting the Whitehawk clinics can obtain nutrition advice, nutritional therapy and creative arts therapy for their children.

Nutrition advice and nutritional therapy are also on offer at the Phoenix Community Centre.

The Children's Clinic has built a reputation over the years for the quality andeffectiveness of its therapy programmes.

All its practitioners are fully trained, experienced in work with children, and are registered members of their own professional bodies.

The Children's Clinic has a city centre HQ so why has it opened these outreach clinics?

Development manager Bill Friggens said: "We became increasingly aware that, despite our success in providing affordable treatment, many disadvantaged families simply didn't know about us or, if they did, were concerned about the cost and time of treatment and travel.

"The answer was to take the services to where the need existed rather than expect them to come to us."

The first outreach clinic was established by Pema Sanders, a homeopath, and these community clinics have since gone from strength to strength.

But the challenges are not to be underestimated. As a charity, the clinic continually needs to raise the money to maintain and develop the outreach programme.

They have had the continual support and encouragement from Playlink, the Family Centre and Greenhouse in Whitehawk and the Government's new Sure Start initiative in Brighton and Hove.

"If we can attract extra funding over the next two years, we hope to expand into Moulescoomb, Portslade and Manor Farm, and add osteopathy and baby massage to the range of treatments," said Mr Friggens.

He also believes closer co-operation with other medical practitioners is another key aim. "We still need to get the message across to many in the NHS that we want to work closely with them," he said.

He believes the NHS is not effective at treating every condition and freely admits that neither is complementary medicine.

"If we can all accept this, we stand a much better chance of creating a truly integrated approach to family health care in Brighton and Hove," he said.

"If we lift our heads above the parapet, we will realise there are many examples around the UK of the NHS and complementary health practitioners working successfully together ."

The Childrens Clinic at Dolphin House is a complementary health charity which makes treatment affordable to all.

Donations to support its pioneering work should be sent to 14 New Road, Brighton BN1 1UF or call 01273 324790