LEAP NEWS - A Better Start for Blackpool

We were delighted to attend the official launch of Blackpool’s A Better Start Programme last Wednesday 20th October at Blackpool’s Hilton Hotel. 

The Blackpool Better Start programme will support babies up to the age of three and their families by working with local services, parents and the whole community to ensure that young children in Blackpool grow up happy and healthy. It is funded by the Big Lottery as part of its A Better Start initiative and is led by the NSPCC working with the Local Authority, Clinical Commissioning Group, Blackpool Hospital Teaching Trust, Police and the local community.

LEAP were there to support those involved in the programme, hear about Blackpool’s plans for change and find out how they are making their vision a reality. 

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Dr Alain Gregoire, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist, University of Southampton 

We were given a warm welcome by Merle Davis, Blackpool’s Better Start Director, and Chris Cuthbert, Big Lottery Fund’s Director of Development, who spoke to a packed audience of local professionals, community groups and national organisations. 

We heard an inspirational speech from Dr Alain Gregoire, who talked about the value of identifying and supporting maternal mental health issues in order to improve outcomes for children. Professor Vivette Glover spoke about the importance of emotional and physical well-being during pregnancy, and Professor Pasco Fearon described why early relationships matter to ensure that babies are able to develop positive relationships throughout their lives.

Currently, 30% of babies in Blackpool are born into poverty, while rates of mental illness, drugs and alcohol abuse and domestic abuse are above the national average. The Better Start partnership aims to tackle these problems as early as possible, and as a result improve the life chances of children and their families. 

Blackpool is one of five UK sites delivering A Better Start programmes, along with Lambeth, Bradford, Nottingham and Southend-on-Sea.  

After a motivating and informative day, LEAP team left the conference feeling truly inspired and excited for things to come for Blackpool and the A Better Start programme. 

Congratulations to Blackpool Better Start! 

Check out photos and tweets from the day using #BBSConf2015

To find out more about Blackpool Better Start, visit: www.blackpoolbetterstart.org.uk