A Better Start Southend
£40m from The Big Lottery has been invested in A Better Start Southend to help develop new and improved Children’s Services for Southend. The initiative is part of a ten-year research and development programme working in partnership with parents, carers, and professionals to create and improve services focusing on families with children under four years-old.
A Better Start Southend is a partnership of organisations who want to give local children the best possible start in life, using new ways of thinking to provide preventative support at an early age. At the start we are focusing on families in six local wards – Westborough, Victoria, Milton, Kursaal, West Shoebury and Shoeburyness.
We’re aiming to make a difference in three areas of children’s lives:
- Communication and Language –We want all children to be able to use speech and language skills confidently so that they are ready to learn and able to succeed when they start school.
- Social and Emotional Development -We want Southend’s children to enjoy good relationships with the people around them, to grow up in loving families and to develop the skills that will help them make stable relationships in future.
- Diet and Nutrition –We want all of our children to be healthy because their mums enjoyed a balanced diet during pregnancy and carried on to give them a healthy start in their early years.
There’s lots of evidence to show that involving people in designing the services they use makes services better. With parents and carers working alongside paid staff and volunteers, we will be testing ideas in practice, then applying the lessons learned: sharing good experiences, and bad, as a way of improving the system as a whole.
The Communication and Language Team are made up of Speech and Language Therapists, Speech and Language Therapy Assistants, and a Specialist Teacher who are developing and testing preventative programmes in the local community. The team have started running FREE courses for families with children of various ages to support and encourage Speech and Language development, even from as young as 6 months.
The following courses are currently available at various locations (please see link to the ABS website for more details):
Let’s Talk With Your Baby (6-9 months)
Let’s Talk with your Baby is a free, fun and active six week course for mums, dads and their babies aged between 6 – 9 months. Each week will focus on a different aspect of children’s communication development, for example Let’s Look – making eye contact and Let’s Splash – playing together in a fun, sensory way. Handy hints and activities that can be used at home will be learnt.
Talking Tiddlers (12-18months)
Talking Tiddlers is an exciting, free, new five week course for mums, dads and their children aged between 12 – 18 months which we are trialling in response to parent feedback from Let’s Talk with Your Baby. Each week will focus on a different aspect of children’s communication development, for example listening, turn-taking, reading and talking together. There’ll be more handy hints and activities that can be used at home.
Talking Toddlers (18-24months)
Talking Toddlers is a new, free, fun and interactive five week course for mum, dads and their children aged between 18 – 24 months which we are trialling in response to parent feedback from Help Me To Talk. Each week will focus on a different aspect of children’s language development such as learning new words and listening for sounds. There will be an opportunity to create and make a range of child-friendly resources for use at home.
Chatting Children is a free 5 session course for mums, dads and carers who have concerns about their children’s talking. Children and adults will attend the groups together, which will be run by a Speech & Language Therapist. It will be interactive and fun and will give plenty of ideas on how to encourage words. Children should not have already been referred to the main Speech & Language Therapy Service.
Super Sounds is a free 3 session course for mums, dads and carers who have concerns about their children’s speech sounds. Children and adults will attend the groups together which will be run by a Speech & Language Therapist. It will be interactive and fun and will give plenty of ideas on how to sort out all those tricky sounds. Children should not have already been referred to the main Speech & Language Therapy Service.
23 month check
If you live within one of the 6 ABSS wards you will be offered a free speech & language development check run by the communication & language team at A Better Start Southend when your child is approaching their 2nd birthday. Look out for their invitation in the post!
For information about any of these courses please phone 01702 534549
Do you live within the A Better Start target area?
Clink on the maps below to check whether you live within a target area.