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HEY! Better Start Bradford launches the Happy Early Years Fund

27 September 2022

Better Start Bradford has today launched its £120,000 Happy Early Years (HEY!) Fund, which gives parents and carers the chance to apply for funding to run initiatives for families with 0-3s in the Bowling and Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton areas of Bradford.

Funding of between £500 and £2,500, per application, is available for the next two years. Ideas and initiatives must be run by parents, or have parents involved in a meaningful way, and help expectant parents and families with children aged 0-3 to:

  • Eat well and be healthy
  • Talk and communicate well
  • Be confident, friendly and understand their emotions

The Happy Early Years Fund also places local parents and carers at the heart of the decision making, with a parent–led panel deciding which applications to support.

The Happy Early Years Fund will be officially launched by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Martin Love, at an event taking place on Tuesday 27 September from 11.00am to 1.00pm at the Mayfield Centre, BD5 9NP.

Gill Thornton, Head of Programme, Better Start Bradford said:

We put the Better Start Bradford community at the heart of everything that we do. The Happy Early Years Fund means local parents, carers and expectant parents can take ownership and deliver their initiatives for 0-3s in Better Start Bradford area, while developing their own skills and confidence by bringing their ideas to life. I want to really encourage local parents to look at applying to the fund, it’s a really easy application process and we are really looking forward to seeing what innovative ideas our parents come up with.

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Martin Love, said:

Better Start Bradford’s Happy Early Years Fund provides a wonderful and exciting opportunity for parents and carers to take charge of ideas and initiatives to help to give 0-3s the best start in life. In addition, the skills and experience that the parents will develop by running their own projects will provide an excellent platform for future endeavours.

A previous recipient of funding was local Dad of three young children, Mohammad Abbas, 33, who wanted to do something to keep children fit and healthy, while giving very young children something fun to do with their mums and dads every week. Thanks to successfully being awarded £1,000, he set up the Footy Funsters group at the Karmand Community Centre.

Mohammad said:

Having three young children, it is very important to me that they stay active and healthy. I felt that there wasn’t anything sports-based in our area for young children in the community that was free, so I came up with the idea for Footy Funsters. I was really pleased when I was told that I had been awarded the funding. I felt that I had really accomplished something for the community, while giving them something fun and free to look forward to.

For further information or if you are interested in applying to the Happy Early Years Fund, please visit  or contact the Happy Early Years Fund Co-ordinator, Gulsoom Akhtar on 07923 443685. It is recommended that applicants fully read the application guidance notes to check the eligibility criteria.

The first deadline for applications is Friday 21 October 2022. There are three application rounds per year and the deadlines can be found on the Happy Early Years Fund website

The Happy Early Years Fund replaces Better Start Bradford’s Parents in the Lead Activities Fund, which awarded a total of over £160,000 to over 100 parent-led projects since October 2017.

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Families with children aged 0-3, Exercise and getting outdoors
Happy Early Years (HEY!) Fund

The Happy Early Years (HEY!) Fund enables parents, grandparents & other adult carers in the Better Start Bradford area to apply for up to £2,500 to develop ideas and initiatives for local families and their 0-3s.

HEY! Fund Application Forms

Download the Happy Early Years (HEY!) Fund application form after you have read the guidance notes.