The Alliance and its partners have been awarded the funding as part of the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘Fulfilling Lives: A Better Start’ initiative to work with the local community to shape and redesign services during pregnancy and early childhood (0 – 3 years old)
The plan, ‘Our Children, Our Community, Our Future’, has been developed with local parents, the community and professionals, to put prevention at the heart of the way services are delivered. It will include the development of an internationally-recognised centre for excellence, innovation and best practice for early years, where parents and professionals can come together to shape and design services.
The funding, which is intended to improve communication and language, social and emotional development, and diet and nutrition, will be focussed on six main wards: Kursaal, Milton, Westborough, Victoria, Shoeburyness and West Shoebury – but the learning, best practice and opportunities will be shared across Southend-on-Sea and beyond, ensuring that our children are given a better start in life.
Neil Leitch, Chief Executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this funding. The ‘Our Children, Our Community, Our Future’ project will transform the lives of local children and families, and deliver lasting change for the wider Southend community. This decision is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Southend team, the Council and all our local partners who have made this ambitious vision a reality.”
Rob Tinlin, Chief Executive of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, a partner in the project, added: "This is a real vote of confidence in Southend and will mean that we can make a real sea change for young people and develop new opportunities for children and their families and communities, now and into the future.”
Jonathan Clark, Big Lottery Fund Policy and Learning Manager, 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, that is why this investment is focusing on the three key areas of social and emotional development, nutrition, and language and communication development.”
The funding follows a Big Lottery Funding development grant of £199,260 in August 2013, which was awarded to ‘Our Children, Our Community, Our Future’ to support its long-term growth.
ABOUT THE BIG LOTTERY FUND ‘A BETTER START’ INITIATIVE
- The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
- The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in 2004 the Fund has awarded close to £6bn.
- The Fund’s ‘Fulfilling Lives: A Better Start’ initiative is a new strategy launched in 2013 to specifically support programmes and enterprises around the country dedicated to the social and emotional development, communication and language development, and nutrition of children aged 0 to three-years-old.