Birkenhead Foundation Years Project

The Birkenhead Foundation Years Project’s family support programme consists of one-to-one peer mentoring and support alongside accessible parent-child play groups as well groups with a more specific focus, such as reading.  Support lasts from pregnancy until when children start full-time school.  The project was established by the Foundation Years Trust in June 2013 with the aim of developing a model of family support to implement the findings of 'The Foundation Years: how to prevent poor children becoming poor adults' Frank Field, 2010.

In the period July – December 2013 we scoped a pilot programme through a process of audit and consultation.  We explored partnerships with organisations with programmes which we were keen to include in our delivery model.  The project team works by commissioning and co-producing services, in collaboration with local and national partners.  We are committed to the provision of more joined-up maternity and Early Years services, so that parents and their babies feel secure, valued and supported throughout this crucial, but often stressful, period in their lives.  To understand what Birkenhead families feel about the services they use and what they want, we listened to the experiences of 30 mothers who had recently given birth in Birkenhead.  We published MATERNITY - Voices of Birkenhead Mothers as a way of opening up a discussion with parents and the services and organisation which support them. 

From January 2014 to December 2015 we are piloting, evaluating and developing services.  We are particularly concerned to create a programme which reflects what families want and value and are undertaking two further consultations with parents and children from 6 months up to 2 years and from 2+ to 5 years.