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Happy New Year 2024 from Alex

5 January 2024

Happy New Year

I hope 2024 heralds good health and happiness for you and your family.

I value the opportunity the new year gives me to reflect on all that has happened in the previous 12 months and there have been so many highlights and successes.

Whilst the 6th Baby Week is relatively fresh in our minds, it is fitting to pay tribute to all our staff and partners who helped to deliver a week of activities, events and resources for families and practitioners across the early years sector focused on developing healthy habits early. The Baby Week Wiggle was a triumph and seeing such commitment to modelling the importance of movement is really inspiring – let’s keep wiggling throughout 2024!

2023 has also seen many Better Start Bradford projects expand their delivery across the wider Bradford district. Start for Life funding has seen Baby Steps, Little Minds Matter, Incredible Years, HENRY, the Perinatal Support Service and Breastfeeding Support scale up and work with local authority colleagues to deliver a comprehensive offer to families during pregnancy and the earliest years.

In addition, following the successful piloting of MECSH (Maternal & Early Childhood Sustained Home-visiting) in the Bradford East Health Visiting team, the programme has been adopted as the district enhanced health-visiting model and training for all health visitors is currently being rolled out.

In the coming year we will continue to work with partners to further develop opportunities for the work of Better Start Bradford to become embedded in ways of working locally and more widely.

Opportunities to share learning from the A Better Start programme have been increased over the last year with Better Start colleagues and partners being invited to participate in a number of conferences, webinars and policy round table events on a range of subjects including: maternity care, campaigns, speech and language and perinatal and infant mental health. We will continue to share our learning with as many people as possible and will be developing a range of local learning events and opportunities over the coming year.

Providing placements to midwifery and nursing students within our team has played a significant part in shaping the future workforce and increasing their knowledge and understanding of the importance of the earliest years, prevention and early intervention.

We have continued to deliver high quality digital content and campaigns some of which have been shared with national partners. At the start of 2023, the Bin the Bottle campaign was developed and delivered with Bradford District Care Trust to improve dental health of babies. Later last year, the Talking Bradford pathway was launched. Talking Bradford was co-produced with partners and parents to provide a visual guide to the speech, language and communication support available in the Bradford District.

Research and evaluation continues to play a significant role in the development and application of the Better Start Bradford learning. BiBBS (Born in Bradford’s Better Start) reached the milestone of recruiting their 5,000th baby to the cohort study following children born in the Better Start Bradford area. This will help us to monitor and evaluate the impact of the Better Start Bradford projects and inform future decisions affecting children’s wellbeing.

Over the last year we have said goodbye to many colleagues, the majority of whom continue to work in related roles and regularly collaborate with us. This has provided opportunities for us to welcome a number of new staff allowing us to continue to expand our horizons and draw on a range of experiences.

Whilst 2024 will see a number of Better Start Bradford projects end as we enter the final phase of the programme, we will continue to work with partners to explore all opportunities for sustainability. Work will also continue to build on our legacy work and we are excited by the opportunity to work in collaboration with Bradford 2025.

2024 is set to be another busy one for Better Start Bradford as we consolidate our learning to date and share it far and wide. We look forward to you joining us on this journey and working with you to ensure we continue to make a difference to families during pregnancy and the earliest years in the Better Start Bradford area and beyond.


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News / 14th December 2023
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