Listening to, learning from and supporting local people

A Better Start Southend is a partnership of organisations who want to give local children the best possible start in life, using new ways of thinking to solve some of the problems that have affected our most disadvantaged communities for years.

We’re aiming to make a difference in three areas of children’s lives:

  • Social and emotional development: We want Southend’s children to enjoy good relationships with the people around them, to grow up in loving families and to develop the skills that will help them make stable relationships in future.
  • Communications and Language: We want all children to be able to use speech and language skills confidently so that they are ready to learn and able to succeed when they start school.
  • Diet and nutrition: We want all of our children to be healthy because their mums enjoyed a balanced diet during pregnancy and carried on to give them a healthy start in their early years.

At the start we are focusing on families in six local wards – Westborough, Victoria, Milton, Kursaal, West Shoebury and Shoeburyness. There’s more information about what we want to achieve here.

How will we work?

There’s lots of evidence to show that involving people in designing the services they use makes services better.  Parents and carers will be involved every step of the way with A Better Start: raising the problems that need solving, coming up with some answers, and working alongside paid staff and volunteers to help us test good ideas in practice. You can find out more about how we want that to work here.

We want to create better services for Southend’s children that will last long after A Better Start is over. The only way we can do that is to learn from everything we do. Every project we support will start out small and will be tested, improved and tested again until we’re sure it works for people in our local community.

Our Partners

A Better Start Southend is part of a ten-year research and development programme set up by the Big Lottery Fund with the aim of transforming services for very young children. Southend is one of five sites (the others are Blackpool, Bradford, Nottingham and Lambeth) that will share funding, expertise and practical experiences as the programme develops.

Southend’s programme is supported by over £40m of Big Lottery funding. The programme is led by the Pre-school Learning Alliance, working with a number of strategic partners who jointly share decision-making for the programme. We are also supported by a number of other delivery partners.

Southend learning event


Get involved

There’s no blueprint for doing this, and we need everyone in Southend to get involved if we are going to succeed. We’d like as many people as possible to share ideas for how to improve services for Southend’s young children and families.

Sign up to find out more and give us your thoughts on what local families need, and how we can help make sure they get it.