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Bradford dads come together to discuss getting children off to the best start

Nearly 20 dads came together yesterday at a Better Start Bradford workshop to discuss their role in getting Bradford’s children off to the best possible start in life. The workshop was the first in a series of events Better Start Bradford, an innovative partnership programme, is running to engage dads.

The workshop provided a chance for dads to meet and explore the themes of bonding, health and sports. Another workshop on 28 January will focus on communication, literacy and faith. Dads can book now onto this workshop.

At the workshop, dads had a chance to:

  • Discuss with other local dads and experts the role of dads in getting children off to the best start;
  • Get top tips on bonding, health, and being a great role model for their children;
  • Discuss how Better Start Bradford can engage and support dads in the area.

Pictured: yesterday’s workshop led by facilitators Sally Barber and Daniel Bingham.dadsworkshop-29nov16

Comments from dads at the workshop: “Probably one of the best workshops I’ve ever been to. Very educational and easy to understand.” Rafi Ullah Khan

“It was thought provoking and interesting on how childhood experiences effect children in adulthood.” Mohammed Sadiq

“I wish I’d known some of these things earlier and been able to do some of these things with my children from a younger age.” Suhaib Ahmed

Gill Thornton, programme manager, Better Start Bradford, says: “Yesterday’s workshop for dads was really successful, with lots of enthusiastic discussion about what being a dad in Bradford means. Better Start Bradford is setting up 22 projects to support families in getting children off to a great start, and many of these are aimed at mums, dads and whole families. But it is important that we specifically work to engage dads and get their perspectives. When we think about parenting we often automatically think about mums, but of course dads have a critical role to play, and sometimes they don’t have it easy getting the support and information they need. We want to make sure all parents and carers with babies and toddlers (and bumps!) have the chance to come together and get the right information and support. Last night we heard some fascinating insights from local dads that we’ll be taking forward as we develop our programme.”

Better Start Bradford is working to engage families with children under four and expectant parents across three wards of Bradford (Little Horton, Bowling and Barkerend and Bradford Moor), through a broad range of projects that support literacy and communication, health and nutrition, and social and emotional development. As one of five ‘A Better Start’ programmes around the country, it aims to leave a lasting legacy for Bradford families, and share lessons with other areas. Eight Better Start Bradford projects are already up and running (see below), with the rest due to be in place by mid next year.

Better Start Bradford projects so far up and running:

  • Welcome to the World – friendly group antenatal sessions for pregnant mums and dads
  • Talking Together – supporting two-year-olds in communication and language development through in-home visits to encourage play and conversation over a six-week period
  • HENRY (Health Exercise Nutrition for the Really Young) – an eight-week course supporting parents to develop healthy lifestyles
  • Baby Buddy app – free mobile phone app for parents and parents-to-be, with personalised content approved by doctors and midwives, from pregnancy to six months after birth
  • Better Start Imagine – providing free books to children under four, to help develop literacy
  • Personalised Midwifery Care Pilot – ensuring women see the same midwife, with longer appointments, and enhanced support and information
  • ESOL+ for pregnancy Language courses for pregnant women with English needs, to help them engage with their midwife and be more in control of their pregnancy and labour
  • Family Nurse Partnership – a home visiting programme to support teenage first time parents and their children regarding health, wellbeing and self-sufficiency
  • Perinatal Support Service, providing emotional support to families under pressure during pregnancy and the first year after birth.


Jools Townsend or Jo Bird, 01274 723146 / [email protected]

Tweet us @BetterStartBfd


Better Start Bradford is a community partnership led by Bradford Trident, bringing together partners from Children’s Services, Health, Police Voluntary Sector and the Community to help parents give their children the best start in life.  It covers the council wards of Bowling and Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton and will run for 10 years from 2015.

The aim is to improve the life chances of babies and very young children by delivering a significant increase in the use of preventative approaches in pregnancy and first three years of life.  Bradford families will benefit from smarter, seamless services which recognise and address needs at an early stage. Skilled and informed workers, and communities, will remove barriers and provide responsive, consistent support along with a portfolio of projects.  Better Start Bradford parents and local community will lead the development of this aspirational programme

  • More children will enter school with the communication and language skills and social and emotional skills they need to actively enter this stage of learning and to develop effective relationships.
  • More families will provide healthy and nutritious food for their children and encourage their children to be active from an early age.
  • More children will benefit from early learning, having good opportunities within the home and a safe and loving base with strong and secure attachments to their parents and carers.

More information about Better Start Bradford can be found at betterstartbradford.co.uk


‘A Better Start’ aims to improve the life chances of babies and very young children by delivering a significant increase in the use of preventative approaches in pregnancy and first three years of life. Big Lottery Fund has invested £215m over 10 years in five local area partnerships within Blackpool, Bradford, Lambeth, Nottingham and Southend on Sea.

More information about A Better Start can be found at https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/betterstart


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