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Winners announced of £7.6 million fund to help give babies the best start in life

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New Health and Wellbeing Fund will support 19 projects to reduce health inequalities among new mothers and babies.

  • New Health and Wellbeing Fund to focus on mothers living in black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) communities or deprived areas
  • The 19 projects will help to promote nutrition, learning, language development and mental health during pregnancy and post-birth
  • The fund will support the government’s pledge to level up communities and reduce health inequalities

The winners of a new multi-million pound fund to reduce health inequalities among new mothers and babies have been announced.

The Health and Wellbeing Fund, based on the theme of ‘starting well’, will help charities run and expand projects to:

  • boost mental health for new and expectant mothers
  • improve the development of babies and children
  • give people the best chance for a healthy start by preventing obesity and diabetes

Set up across the country from Cornwall to Lancashire, the 19 winning projects include a number of innovative schemes aimed at levelling up BAME groups and promoting healthy behaviours.

Public Health Minister, Jo Churchill said:

“Everyone deserves to live a long, healthy life and the perfect time to start to achieve it is in the beginning. Vital support for improving mental health of mothers, nutrition of babies and the learning and development of children in early years will help ensure the best possible start by reducing the inequality that some face.

“We have had some fantastic, innovative applications for the Health and Wellbeing Fund. I’m looking forward to seeing these winning projects in action, making real, tangible improvements to the lives and health of families.”

The Health and Wellbeing Fund: Starting Well will see the 19 projects given a share of up to £7.6 million over 3 years to improve the lives of families in their local areas.

Some of the projects include:

  • a scheme in Birmingham which will expand an existing parental engagement programme to reach parents earlier – the project will support the earlier identification of children who need language support before the age of 2 through building the knowledge and confidence in early years’ practitioners and professionals, as well as their parents
  • a project in Croydon which will support survivors of trafficking and asylum seekers by tailoring intensive support to meet mothers’ needs – it will include weekly emotional support from trained perinatal peer support volunteers and qualified doulas as birth companions for the most vulnerable
  • scheme in Leicester which will provide a joined-up care pathway for all families with a focus on BAME communities, giving children the best start in life by complementing existing statutory provision – the service will expand the reach of breastfeeding antenatal support, with a focus on younger women and those who do not speak English

The Health and Wellbeing Fund is already supporting 23 social prescribing schemes and 23 children and young people’s mental health schemes that are providing important services to communities across England.

It is a part of the Health and Wellbeing Programme, a joint initiative by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI).

The Health and Wellbeing Fund is run by the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance.

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