Charities win share of £215m lottery early intervention fund

Laura McCardle
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Five charity-led consortia will receive a share of £215m as part of a bid to improve the life chances of vulnerable under-threes, the Big Lottery Fund has announced.

The charities, including the National Children's Bureau, NSPCC and Pre-school Learning Alliance, have been awarded up to £50m each to devise a long-term plan for supporting parents with children from pregnancy to three years old.

The funding is part of the Lottery’s A Better Start initiative and will be used to fund projects in Blackpool, Bradford, Lambeth, Nottingham and Southend, the details of which are below.

The aim is to improve the health, social and education outcomes of more than 60,000 vulnerable under-threes over the next 10 years.

The areas were selected from a group of 15, which were last year awarded £5m each to lay the foundations of similar projects.

Announcing the funding, Dharmendra Kanani, director of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Parents want the best for their children and as a society we know that what happens in the first three years of life profoundly affects a child’s future life chances.

“A poor start in life can affect your health, wellbeing, outlook on life and how you form relationships.

“Prevention matters more in the early years as we have a much greater understanding of what can and might improve the life chances of a future generation.”

The Fulfilling Lives: A Better Start initiative will form a key part of CYP Now's Early Intervention Conference in London on 12 September. Delegates will hear from one of the successful bids about the process thus far and plans for the investments for the years ahead.

They will be joined by Big Lottery Fund deputy director Andrew Morris, and Jane Barlow, Professor of Public Health and Early Years at Warwick Medical School, who is leading the evaluation of the Better Start programme.

You can see the full programme and book your place here.

Details of the five projects are:


The NSPCC has been awarded £45m to lead the Blackpool Better Start partnership, working with Blackpool Council, NHS groups and community organisations.

According to the NSPCC, 1,600 babies are born in Blackpool each year – 30 per cent of which are born into poverty.

The funding will help agencies to work together to provide early support for babies, focusing on diet and nutrition, social and emotional development, and communication and language.

The new Blackpool Centre for Early Childhood Development will be at the heart of the project and will oversee the delivery of services and co-ordinate the learning of the project.


Community group Bradford Trident has been awarded £49m to lead the Better Start Bradford initiative and support 20,000 under-threes over the next decade.

Deprivation in the region is high, according to Bradford Trident, and the group will use the funding to target three wards – Bowling and Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton – where there are high rates of infant mortality, child poverty, poor oral health, high child obesity rates, and high numbers of domestic violence and child protection orders.


The National Children’s Bureau (NCB) has been awarded £36m to lead on the work of the Lambeth Early Action Partnership, which comprises Lambeth Council, health services, local police leaders, community groups and the NCB.

The charity will use the funding to improve the lives of 10,000 children living in the wards of Coldharbour, Stockwell, Tulse Hill and Vassall, which are home to a quarter of the borough’s under-18s.

The partnership will lead projects at 26 sites across the wards, helping key professionals, including health and family support staff, to provide more co-ordinated support to vulnerable families.

Through the partnership, the NCB wants to achieve a number of goals, including improving breastfeeding rates, reducing childhood and maternal obesity, and reducing domestic violence.


The Nottingham CityCare Partnership, which offers a range of NHS services in health centres, children’s centres and homes, has been awarded £45m.

The partnership will use the funding to focus on tackling the “toxic stress” caused by instances of domestic abuse, family conflict and parental mental health problems.

Activities and interventions at 16 community centres across Nottingham will be run, with the partnership also recruiting a team of family mentors to work alongside professionals.


The Pre-school Learning Alliance has been awarded £40m to deliver its Our Children, Our Community, Our Future project in Southend-on-Sea to help 13,000 children over the next decade.

The funding will be targeted at six wards – Kursaal, Milton, Westborough, Victoria, Shoeburyness and West Shoebury – with the aim of transforming the town’s maternity care and parental support, delivering activities at children’s centres.

The money will also be used to increase midwifery and health visiting services, while the Centre of Excellence, Innovation and Best Practice will bring key agency workers together in a bid to provide better co-ordinated care.


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