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A Better Start Southend

Let’s have fun and get talking!

Come and have fun with your kids – street theatre, comedy, story-telling, walking, tots rave – there’s an event to suit everyone.

Raising Southend is an exciting series of over twenty events and activities taking place across Southend from Monday 13th September to Sunday 26th September 2021 and is aimed at all families across Southend who are either expecting a baby or with children under the age of four, and for professionals in Southend who support them. All events are free.

The purpose of this festival is to create opportunities for conversations between families, community groups and services in Southend through moments of shared creativity. We all want Southend to be the best place in which to be a parent and raise a child, so let’s talk with each other about how we can make this vision for Southend come true!

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Timetable of events

Registrations are open from Monday 16th August

Family Friendly Name Date Description Who can attend
Raising Southend Launch
The Forum
Monday, 13th September
12:30-14:30
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We are delighted that the Festival will be formally opened by the Mayor of Southend, Councillor Margaret Borton. There will be a range of guest speakers/performers who will talk about the power of conversations in building strong and resilient communities and effective services, and you will have an opportunity to hear about the programme of events taking place over the two week period. This will include refreshments.

Address:

The Forum, Elmer Square, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 1NS

By invitation
Raising Southend Photography Exhibition Launch
3rd Space
Monday, 13th September
18:30-20:30
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Join us at our fantastic photography exhibition launch event which will display an exploration of childhood from the perspective of local community members and civic leaders. Capturing their individual thoughts and feelings about childhood through photography and sound. Come and see if you can spot any familiar faces and see their stories. This will include refreshments and canapés.

Address:

3rd Space, Victoria Shopping, 31 Southchurch Road, Southend, SS1 2NG

By invitation
Raising Southend Photography Exhibition
3rd Space
13th - 23rd September
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An exploration of childhood from local community members in Southend, in photography and sound. *Child-friendly

Address:

3rd Space, Victoria Shopping, 31 Southchurch Road, Southend, SS1 2NG

All welcome
Coffee and Conversation with Jo Melville
Southend Christian Fellowship Centre
Tuesday, 14th September
11:00-12:00
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Join Jo Melville from South Essex African Caribbean Association, to share thoughts about childhood and parenting from the perspective of Southend’s black, Asian and minoritized ethnic communities. *Child-friendly. Free refreshments for those joining the conversation.

Address:

Southend Christian Fellowship Centre, The Plaza Centre, 600 Southchurch Road, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 2PT

Register here
Discovery Session: Family Yoga
Yoga Factory
Wednesday, 15th September
11:00-12:00
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Family Yoga led by Yoga 4 All. Whether you are new to yoga, or have tried it before, a chance to enjoy some peaceful time together. Suitable for all ages!
*Child-friendly

Address:

Yoga Factory, Unit 8, Victoria Business park, Short St, Southend-on-Sea SS2 5BY

Discovery Session: Hosted by Prof Mike Thorne and Jeff Banks
SAVS Conference Room
Wednesday, 15th September
15:30-17:30
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Join Prof Mike Thorne, Chair of the Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership and Jeff Banks, Director of A Better Start Southend, to talk about the priorities for community health and wellbeing within a changing NHS landscape locally. What should be our priorities in the next ten years? What do you want from your local NHS for your children and families?

Address:

SAVS Conference Room, 29-31 Alexandra Street, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1BW

Register here
Coffee and Conversation with Paige Ockendon
Metal at Chalkwell
Thursday, 16th September
11:00-12:30
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Join Paige Ockendon from Metal to find out more about their arts programme. What kind of music and arts events would you like to see in Southend? How can we support our children’s creativity and appreciation for the arts in their early years?

Address:

Metal at Chalkwell Hall, Chalkwell Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, SS0 8NB

Register here
Advice Market
The Royals Shopping Centre
Friday, 17th September
10:00-16:00
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Pop into the advice market and find out what's on offer to you and your family. Visit stalls for information and advice from a range of community organisations and agencies from across Southend. *Child-friendly

Address:

The Royals Shopping Centre, High Street, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS1 1DG

All welcome
Street Artists and Family Fringe
Southend High Street & Seafront
Saturday, 18th September
11:00-18:00
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Look out for some unexpected visitors to Southend today, this may include the musically talented Jelly Rollers' act The Pram. Street performers will entertain you and your family, and hopefully, get us talking!
*Child-friendly

Address:

Pesky Pirates at 12pm, 1:30pm & 3pm (lower high street)
The Pram 11:30am, 1pm & 2pm (lower/mid high street)

All welcome
Drag Storytelling with Mama G
Southend Central Library
Saturday, 18th September
12:00-13:00
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Settle in for a story with Mama G. Telling tales for the whole family, about being who you are and loving who you are. Mama G's stories are sprinkled with tales of inclusivity and acceptance. *Child-friendly

Address:

Southend Central Library at The Forum, Elmer Ave, Southend-on-Sea SS1 1NS

All welcome
Karaoke and Comedy Night
Caddies Comedy Club
Saturday, 18th September
19:30-23:00
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We're taking over Caddies Comedy Club for a night of karaoke and comedy - gladrags on, let's have a giggle!

Address:

Caddies Comedy Club, 12 London Road, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1NT

Sunday Strolls with Councillor Laurie Burton
Prittle Brook
Sunday, 19th September
11:00-12:00
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Join us for a families' stroll with Cllr Laurie Burton, Cabinet Member for Children and Learning. Let's talk about our children's education in and out of school. What can the Council do to help us ensure our children are able to get the best out of early years provision and school?
*Child-friendly

Address:

Prittle Brook,
meeting point location Priory Park Bandstand.

Register here
Sunday Strolls with Krishna Ramkhelawon
City Beach
Sunday, 19th September
13:00-14:00
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Join us for a families' stroll on the beach with your host Krishna Ramkhelawon, Director of Public Health, Southend Borough Council. As we walk, we can talk about how we can make Southend a happy and healthy place to live and work. You will be walking along the 'Walk the Hares' route which is buggy friendly.
*Child-friendly

Address:

City Beach.
Meeting point is by the water fountains at City Beach.

Register here
Monday Masterclasses: Creating a supportive community for breastfeeding
SAVS Conference Room
Monday, 20th September
10:00- 11:00
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How can we create a supportive community for breastfeeding? Eleanor King, who leads the ABSS Bump to Breast breastfeeding support groups, from ABSS delivery partner, YMCA will be leading these conversations. We can all help protect, promote and support breastfeeding in our community. Eleanor will talk in practical terms about how parents can continue their breastfeeding journey if they return to work or education, and what others can do to support that.

Address:

SAVS Conference Room, 29-31 Alexandra Street, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1BW

Register here
Monday Masterclasses: Conversations about Autism; meet Southend’s Early Years SEND Team
SAVS Conference Room
Monday, 20th September
12:00-13:30
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Come and meet some of the Early Years SEN Team in Southend. This session will give you a brief overview of the services offered to settings and parents by the Early Years SEN Team for children with social communication difficulties or autism. We will be giving you a taster of some of the areas covered on our parents course and some of the strategies and activities modelled in settings. The session will be informal and a chance to ask questions and share ideas.

Address:

SAVS Conference Room, 29-31 Alexandra Street, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1BW

Monday Masterclasses: Communication and Language Development in early years
SAVS Conference Room
Monday, 20th September
14:00- 15:00
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Isobel Wratislaw, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, is joined by ABSS Communication and Language Advisers, Sian Ansell and Lynsey Weston for a fun, interactive session on how to encourage and support language and communication skills in babies and children.

Address:

SAVS Conference Room, 29-31 Alexandra Street, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1BW

Coffee and Conversation with Michael Marks
3rd Space
Tuesday, 21st September
9:30-10:30
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Hosted by Michael Marks, Executive Director, Children and Public Health at Southend Borough Council. A chance to talk about your priorities for your children and family. How can we make sure children are not missed out in our ambitious Southend 2050 plans?
*Child-friendly. Free refreshments for those joining the conversation.

Address:

3rd Space, Victoria Shopping, 31 Southchurch Road, Southend, SS1 2NG

Register here
Coffee and Conversation with Dr Taz Syed
Southend Christian Fellowship Centre
Tuesday, 21st September
10:00-11:00
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Enjoy a hot coffee and let's talk about where we most need to invest in our children's health and care. Dr Taz Syed, General Practitioner at the Pall Mall Surgery and Governing Body Member Southend CCG and Stephanie Farr, Assistant Director at ABSS will be hosting this session. We will be discussing how we can help build the Children’s Care Partnership Plan for Mid and South Essex. *Child-friendly. Free refreshments for those joining the conversation.

Address:

Southend Christian Fellowship Centre, The Plaza Centre, 600 Southchurch Road, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 2PT

Register here
Discovery Session: TrustLinks Shoebury
The Growing Together Gardens Shoebury
Tuesday 21st September
10:00-12:00
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Join us and TrustLinks at their Shoeburyness Gardens for a Coffee and Conversation session. There will be tea and cake and an opportunity to spend time in their therapeutic gardens and meet their chickens.
*Child-friendly. Free refreshments for those joining the conversation.

Address:

Growing Together Shoebury, 254 Elm Road, Shoeburyness, SS3 9RY

Register here
Discovery Session: Behind the Scenes
Focal Point Gallery
Wednesday, 22nd September
11:00-12:00
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Have a look behind the scenes at Focal Point and discover how our local gallery is run. Why is creativity important for children? How can we shape a cultural offer which places children’s learning at the centre? *Child-friendly

Address:

Focal Point Gallery, The Forum, Elmer Square, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS1 1NB

Register here
Discovery Session: Open Ended Play
Balmoral Community Centre
Wednesday, 22nd September
13:30-15:30
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Your children will love this event. We have all heard about the importance of child-led, open-ended play. This session features activities for you and your children to explore, such as play dough, story sacks, painting, junk modelling and small world play. A brilliant opportunity to pick up tips and ideas from our play experts. *Child-friendly

Address:

Balmoral Community Centre, Salisbury Ave., Westcliff-on-Sea, Southend-on-Sea, Westcliff-on-Sea, SS0 7AU

Coffee and Conversation with Youth Council
3rd Space
Wednesday, 22nd September
17:00-18:00
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Hosted by our Southend Youth Council who work to represent the views of our young people in the area. Enjoy a hot coffee and let's talk about the ways in which the voice of our children/youth can help shape future service provisions across the borough. *Child-friendly

Address:

3rd Space, Victoria Shopping, 31 Southchurch Road, Southend, SS1 2NG

Register here
Discovery Session: TrustLinks Westcliff
Growing Together Gardens Westcliff
Thursday 23rd September
10:00-12:00
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Join us and TrustLinks at their Westcliff Gardens for a Coffee and Conversation session. There will be tea and cake and an opportunity to spend time in their therapeutic gardens and meet their chickens.
*Child-friendly. Free refreshments for those joining the conversation.

Address:

Growing Together Westcliff, 47 Fairfax Drive, Westcliff On Sea, SS0 9AG

Register here
Coffee and Conversation with Kelly Marks
Metal at Chalkwell
Thursday, 23rd September
11:00- 12:30
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An opportunity to meet with a diverse group of people, to talk about your views on how we can make Southend the best place in the country to bring up a child and be a parent. This event is hosted by Kelly Marks, Community Partnership Officer from Southend Borough Council. Discover how Southend Borough Council engages with the community to help shape local policy, decisions and projects. Also, find out more about Southend 2050, the borough’s bold and challenging ambition for the future.
Free refreshments for those joining the conversation.

Address:

Metal at Chalkwell Hall, Chalkwell Avenue, Southend-on-Sea SS0 8NB

Register here
Advice Market
The Royals Shopping Centre
Friday, 24th September
10:00-16:00
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Pop into the advice market and find out what's on offer to you and your family. Visit stalls for information and advice from a range of community organisations and agencies from across Southend. *Child-friendly

Address:

The Royals Shopping Centre, High Street, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS1 1DG

All welcome
Supper Stories
Pebbles One, City Beach
Friday, 24th September
18:30-20:30
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Join us for a chippy tea and a unique storytime and chin wag on the beach. Everyone welcome. Chips provided! *Child-friendly

Address:

Meeting location is Pebbles One at City Beach. Near the water fountains

Street Artists and Family Fringe
Southend High Street & Seafront
Saturday, 25th September
11:00-18:00
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Look out for some unexpected visitors to Southend today, this may include the vegetable theatre entertainment from Madame Zucchini. Street performers will entertain you and your family, and hopefully, get us talking! *Child-friendly

Address:

Cod Choir at 12pm, 1:30pm & 3pm (whole high street)

Madame Zucchini 11:30am walkabout, 1pm show& 3pm workshop (lower high street near Debenhams)

All welcome
Sunday Strolls with Lizzie Holt
Belfairs Nature Discovery Centre
Sunday, 26th September
10:30-11:30
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Join us for a family walk through Belfairs, with your host Lizzie Holt, Education and Community Officer at Essex Wildlife Trust. As we walk, we can talk about the sights and sounds of the beautiful Belfairs Nature Discovery Centre, and the value of children and families getting out into the open air! *Child-friendly

Address:

Belfairs Nature Discovery Centre
Eastwood Road North
Leigh on Sea
SS9 4LR

Sunday Strolls with Krishna Ramkhelawon
City Beach
Sunday, 26th September
13:00-14:00
Read description i
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Join us for a families' stroll on the beach with your host Krishna Ramkhelawon, Director of Public Health, Southend Borough Council. As we walk, we can talk about how we can make Southend a happy and healthy place to live and work. You will be walking along the 'Walk the Hares' route which is buggy friendly.
*Child-friendly

Address:

Meeting point is by the water fountains at City Beach.

Register here
Tots' Rave
The Cornerstone United Reformed Church
Sunday, 26th September
15:30-17:30
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We're closing the Festival with a huge party! The kids are taking over today. Join us for an under 5's rave - DJ's, SEND sensory space and a few surprises along the way. Siblings are welcome!

Address:

The Cornerstone United Reformed Church, Bournemouth Park Rd, Southend-on-Sea SS2 5JL

We take the health and safety of our attendees, colleagues and families very seriously, and as such, we are keeping up to date with the latest government guidance on COVID-19. As a result, the programme of events may be subject to change.

All events are taking place in either large, ventilated spaces, public cafes, community venues or outdoor spaces. COVID-19 risk assessments have been undertaken.

Parents and carers remain responsible for children during activities/events at all times. No child is to be left unaccompanied.

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