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):
Babbling Babies workshop (0-12 months)
Babbling Babies is a free and fun two hour workshop for mums, dads, carers and their babies aged between 0-12 months. The workshop will focus on different aspects of a child’s communication development, for example making eye contact and playing together in a fun, sensory way. Handy hints and activities that can be used at home will be provided.
Talking Tiddlers (12-18months)
Talking Tiddlers is an exciting, free, new five week course for mums, dads, carers 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 a child’s communication development, for example listening, turn-taking, reading and talking together. Handy hints and activities that can be used at home will be provided.
Talking Toddlers (18-24 and 24-36 months)
Talking Toddlers is a new, free, fun and interactive five week course for mums, dads, carers and their children aged between18-24 months and 24 – 36 months. Each week will focus on different aspects of a child’s language development, including, how to develop attention and listening skills, understanding language and learning new words. As a result of parent feedback we have divided the course into two different age groups. Each course will focus on the same areas but will be pitched at slightly different levels using different activities and resources. Handy hints and activities that can be used at home will be provided for both courses.
Chatting Children (36-47 months)
Chatting Children is a free, five week course for mums, dads, carers and their children aged between 36 and 47 months. Children and adults will attend the groups together, which will be run by a Speech & Language Therapist and Assistant. It will be fun, interactive and will provide lots of ideas on how to encourage and develops children’s language skills.
Super Sounds workshop
Super Sounds is a free two hour workshop for mums, dads and carers who may have concerns about their child’s speech sounds or are interested in finding out more about the development of children’s speech. Children will be able to attend a crèche run by qualified childcare professionals for the first part of the session, while adults attend an informative workshop run by a Speech & Language Therapist. The workshop will provide information about a child’s typical speech development and possible difficulties some children may encounter. For the second half of the workshop, the children will join their adults and participate in games and activities that aim to provide parents and carers with ideas on how to support their children with their speech development and manage more tricky sounds.
Little Listeners Workshop
Little Listeners is a free two hour workshop for mums, dads and carers who may have concerns about their child’s attention and listening skills or are interested in finding out more about how important attention is in a child’s language development. Children will be able to attend a crèche run by qualified childcare professionals for the first part of the session, while adults attend an informative workshop run by a Speech & Language Therapist. For the second half of the workshop, the children will join their adults and participate in games and activities that aim to provide parents and carers with ideas on how to support their children with their attention and listening skills.
Attention A Better Start (ABS)
Attention ABS are five week courses designed to support children who have difficulties with their attention skills. These skills form a foundation for language and are therefore vital. They provide lots of exciting and new ideas for parents to help support a child’s attention skills at home.
23 month check
If you live within one of the 6 A Better Start Southend (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!
If you have concerns about your child’s speech and language skills, you can call the team and arrange to see one of our Speech and Language Therapists at a Talking Walk-In drop-in session. During this session a Speech and Language Therapist will have a discussion with you about your concerns and observe your child. The therapist will then suggest the most appropriate course or activity for your child.
For information about any of these courses or to book your place please phone 01702 880387 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you live within the A Better Start target area?
Clink on the maps below to check whether you live within a target area.