A major project aiming to improve the lives of thousands of babies and young children in Lambeth has secured £38m of funding.
A multi million pound grant from the Big Lottery Fund has been given to the Lambeth Early Action Partnership (LEAP) to carry out the innovative work which focuses on the prevention of developmental problems during pregnancy and in children’s early years.
LEAP brings together Lambeth Council, the National Children’s Bureau, Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Kings Health Partners as well as local voluntary organisations, community groups, parents, babies and children, the Young Lambeth Co-operative, schools, nurseries and the local police.
Leader of Lambeth Council, Cllr Lib Peck, said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded this funding from the Big Lottery Fund to help change the lives of families in Lambeth who want to give their children the best start in life.
“LEAP is about creating the right circumstances for people to be well all the time, rather than treating illness. By intervening early and preventing problems taking root we will dramatically improve the lives of children and young people.”
Over the ten years of Big Lottery investment, the project will improve; the social, emotional, communication and language development of babies and children, the health and wellbeing of their parents, their social networks and the strength of their communities and the wider environment.
The project will implement these changes through improving breastfeeding rates, reducing childhood and maternal obesity, reducing domestic violence, strengthening families, supporting parents and ultimately making a real difference to the wellbeing of families.
Elaine Simpson, Chair of the National Children’s Bureau said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded funding from the Big Lottery, and incredibly excited to be part of what we believe is one of the most innovative investment programmes in recent years.
“We believe that this support can help to initiate a step-change in services which will improve the lives of children not only in Lambeth, but across England, and we are committed to sharing learning and helping develop working practices and approaches which will ensure this happens.”
Cllr Rachel Heywood, Lambeth’s cabinet member for Early Years, Youth and Family, said: “This fantastic success is testament to the hard work of local residents and the many organisations who have contributed to the bid.
“We’re determined to make Lambeth the best place in the world to be born and brought up and the work of the Lambeth Early Action Partnership will help us do just that through transforming the way we work with families.
“It will enable us to work together with parent champions to prevent problems in families arising in the first place, directly improving the lives of thousands of children through targeted programmes whilst building a much stronger community around them.”
The projects will be delivered at twenty-six sites across four neighbouring wards in the centre of Lambeth: Coldharbour, Stockwell, Tulse Hill and Vassall; which are home to a fifth of Lambeth’s population and a quarter of the borough’s children under 18 (25% of whom are under four).
Thirteen of those sites will be enhanced, eight of which will have improved outdoor spaces or plays areas created.
LEAP is aiming to improve the lives of 10,000 babies who will be born in the four areas throughout the ten year programme.
The Big Lottery Fund has provided a grant of £36m as part of their £215m ‘A Better Start’ investment, which has seen four other areas in the UK – Southend, Nottingham, Blackpool and Bradford – given similar grants. A further £1.8m has been put into the project by the LEAP partners.
Cllr Lib Peck and Cllr Rachel Heywood at Jubilee Children’s Centre with mother Alex Fricke, baby son Benjamin and daughter Meredith