A Better Start Southend news story

HENRY working with A Better Start Southend

Since April, HENRY has been working with A Better Start Southend as part of their 10 year Big Lottery-funded initiative (which began in 2015) aiming to develop new models to improves outcomes for children.

For an initial 3 year period, HENRY will be working alongside a range of local partners to improve health and wellbeing in the early years in a way that meets the needs of local families. This will include training local health and early years practitioners, providing our Healthy Families programme in local venues, rolling out our Starting Solids intervention to parents/carers of all new babies, working with volunteers to build community capacity, and developing a new universal antenatal healthy lifestyle intervention.

A Better Start is a ‘test and learn’ programme investing a total of £215 million between 2015-2025 across five local area partnerships within Bradford, Blackpool, Lambeth, Nottingham and Southend-on-Sea. These areas were chosen for their innovative and forward thinking approach to improving child outcomes.

The programme is facilitating system change locally. This means a shift in culture and spending across children and families agencies towards prevention so that local health and other public services, VCSE and the wider community work together to co-produce and deliver less bureaucratic, more joined-up services for all families living in the area. This will lead to these services working with the whole family effectively to improve outcomes for children, focusing on pregnancy and the first three years of life.

These new pathways of care aim to make better use of local resources and set out to improve outcomes for children in three key development areas, with HENRY being part of the diet and nutrition strand:

  • Social and emotional development: giving parents the skills to build stronger relationships, promoting good attachment and attunement
  • Communication and language development: developing skills in parents to talk, sing, read to, and particularly to praise their babies and toddlers and to ensure local childcare services emphasise language development
  • Diet and nutrition: encouraging breastfeeding and promoting good nutritional practices, giving practical advice on healthier meals for young children and portion sizes.