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A Better Start

Aiming to deliver a change to improve the life chances of children aged 0-3
Funding size:
£30 million - £50 million
Total available:
£215 million
Application deadline:
Programme closed to applications

What’s it all about?

This programme is now closed for applications

Our £215m Fulfilling Lives: A Better Start initiative aims to improve the life chances of over 60,000 babies and young children in England.

The key features of the programme are.

  • We have invested up to £50 million into five areas, each with a population of approximately 50,000 for 10 years.
  • Each area is running a variety of programmes and initiatives to improve outcomes for children in three key areas of development: social and emotional development; communication and language development; and nutrition.
  • There will be a ‘systems change’ in the way that local health, public services and the voluntary sector work together to put prevention in early life at the heart of service delivery and practice.

What are we looking for?

We will make awards for 8 to 10 years for specific geographic areas. 

Each area should have a total population of between 30,000 and 70,000 people, and be an area where a range of health, education and social indicators provide evidence of deprivation and high levels of need amongst children. The selected area can be made up of adjacent wards or may comprise two or more separate clusters of wards.

Where are we now

In June 2014 we announced £215 million in funding to be shared by five local partnerships in England to build long term plans to support thousands of parents in giving their children the best start in life. The five local partnerships will use up to £50m each to redesign local services to test science and evidence-based approaches focussing on three key areas: social and emotional development, nutrition and communication and language development

The 5 areas receiving grants are:

Area Lead Org Region Grant
Nottingham    Nottingham Citycare Partnership CIC   East Midlands  £44,991,807
Southend-on-Sea  Pre-school Learning Alliance   East of England  £40,044,000
Lambeth  National Children's Bureau   London  £36,035,060
Blackpool   NSPCC   North West  £44,937,663
Bradford   Bradford Trident   Yorks & Humber £48,969,270

Support and development

Those of you that attended the recent before you apply events we held in London and Leeds will know that we have appointed the Social Research Unit at Dartington to support the 10 -15 shortlisted areas to build and refine their strategies for stage 2.
Dartington have a wealth of excellent advice and information that will be useful in helping you think about any additional development support you may want to apply for at stage 1, as well as giving you a full understanding of the depth of support that will be available for those that make the shortlist at stage 2.


The theory of change animation from the Centre for the Developing Child shows the importance of building adult capabilities to improve child outcomes:




  • Health and well-being
  • Young People
  • Children and young people


  • Children
  • Families