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  • Help and support

A Better Start

Aiming to deliver a change to improve the life chances of children aged 0-3
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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.

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:

Induction event

In July 2014 we were delighted to be bring together the five A Better Start awarded partnerships, with the partners for A Better Start, (Big Lottery Fund, Warwick Consortium, Dartington SRU and London School of Economics (LSE)) where we hoped to move from a position of competition to collaboration. We gave the awarded partnerships an understanding of what is expected of them over the next nine months and what support the partners for A Better Start will be offering.

Each of the awarded partnerships presented to the other partnerships

  • What the journey had been like so far?
  • Share key elements of their programme
  • What they have learnt so far
  • Hopes and fears for the future

In addition the partners for A Better Start, presented their expectations and the support they will providing to each of the awarded partnerships.

Copies of the presentations and key message from the events can be viewed below:



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


  • Children
  • Families