Smart Start projects

Re-imagining our Children’s Centres

As part of the Warwickshire Smart Start Programme, Barnardo’s – on behalf of all four providers of Children’s Centres – has been funded to deliver the ‘Re-imagining our Children’s Centres’ project. This project is being led by Barnardo’s national Children’s Centre Development Team.
This exciting project aims to work in partnership with frontline professionals and families who access services via Children’s Centres to design and test innovative ways of delivery of those services.

This is about exploring how Children’s Centres services will fit into an integrated model of early years support for Warwickshire, and sharing that learning with commissioners. A number of different delivery approaches will be considered and trialled. The project’s progress and all its findings will be shared via the Smart Start website.

All providers of early years services, both current and those considering future delivery, are welcome to engage in this project.

Final report from the Smart Start – Warwickshire’s Re-Imagining Childrens Centres report – 03.2017 (PDF, 3.12 MB)

Contact: Vicki Lant
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Making it REAL in Warwickshire

The Smart Start Project, ‘Making it Real in Warwickshire’ sets out to work with families and children from 2-5 years to improve literacy at home. The project also involves a holiday literacy event to involve older siblings and literacy adult education for parents to enable them to better support their children aged 0-5 years.

The project started with training from National Children’s Bureau in REAL (Raising Early Achievement in Literacy) over two days at Pound Lane Learning Centre, Leamington Spa.

19 colleagues including Health Visitors, Librarians, children’s centre Early Years Practitioners, Nursery Nurses, Managers for Foundation Stage, school teaching staff, and a volunteer joined the Family Learning team to find out about all aspects of REAL. The team are now delivering the programme.

Please contact Jan Lennon if you would like to find out more about this project or about hosting a course at your venue.

Contact: Jan Lennon
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Food for Life Children’s Centres and Maintained Nurseries Programme

Food for Life is a third sector national organisation committed to making healthy eating and good quality, affordable, nutritious food available to all people outside of the home.

The Food for Life (FFL) Smart Start programme will work with 10 Nurseries and 3 Children’s Centres in target areas of Warwickshire to provide them access to the FFL Early Years Award programme, along with one to one support from the Local Programme Officer, resources, training and activities.
The programme will also look at how settings meet and exceed national standards for mealtimes and provide/promote healthy food and drink throughout their provision of care.

Opportunities will be available for these settings to work with parents and others through training, networks, resources and activities, concluding in a celebration event and awards ceremony in Spring 2017.

Contact: Helene Heath
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Closing the Gap in the Early Years

This is a targeted programme working with early years settings, schools and community development workers in Rugby and Leamington Spa, in communities where data indicates weaker outcomes in relation to ‘school readiness’. The project will involve training of 45 early years practitioners and community development workers in partnership with WCAVA, to improve knowledge and skills in relation to school readiness, communication and language (via Time to Talk Strategy) and parental engagement.

This project builds on a successful pilot conducted in Nuneaton and Bedworth during the past 12 months.

  • Closing the Gap in the EY Case Study Feb 2017 (PDF, 414.59 KB)
  • Contact: Amanda King
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    Are You Sitting Comfortably?

    ‘Are You Sitting Comfortably’ is a project to support children in early years with functional sitting and personal care.
    The first part of the project focuses on the provision of supportive seating for children with SEND prior to their pre-school year or in childcare and creating a library of equipment that can be loaned to early years settings.

    The second part of the project will provide training and support to practitioners and carers who support children with SEND aged 0-5 years.

    Training will be advertised across the county for all early years and childcare providers in the next academic year.

  • IDS Smart Start Project Case Study 2 (PDF, 110.3 KB)
  • Contact: Clare Woodman
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    “Chatter Matters”™ Parent Ambassadors and Bilingual Chatter Matters™

    “time to talk”™ currently provides a wide range of support and training for Children’s Centres, early years settings, health visitors and librarians in Warwickshire. We have also designed and supported the development of Warwickshire’s ‘chatter matters’™ which supports the early language development of babies and young children through singing, play and sharing stories.

    In Warwickshire, we have an increase in the number of children under 5 whose first language is not English living within our community. We aim to ensure that we reach as many families as possible including these multilingual families.

    The Smart Start funding enables us to work more closely with parents and extended families to co-create a network of ‘chatter matters’™ parent ambassadors in the Leamington and Rugby areas. We will also develop and pilot a new programme of bilingual ‘chatter matters’™ that specifically focuses on how to give the best start to children and babies who are learning two or more languages.

    We’d be happy to hear from parents living in the Leamington and Rugby area, who would like to involved or find out more information.

    Updates about the project will be place on the ‘time to talk’ website and Facebook page.

  • Chatter Matters Smart Start Project Case Study Q3 (PDF, 173.36 KB)
  • Contact: Melanie Packer
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    Family Group Conferencing to Reduce Children Looked After among 0-5s

    When the Local Authority has concerns about a child’s safety and well-being, and there is evidence that the child cannot remain safely in their current situation, the offer of a Family Group Conference provides the family with an opportunity to take the lead in making safe plans for the child which addresses the identified concerns.

    Warwickshire County Council’s Family Group Conferencing Team successfully bid for Smart Start funding to undertake a project with children who are looked after aged 0-5 years.

    The project will be working with Social Work teams and families in Nuneaton and Bedworth, where there is a child aged 0-5 years who is either looked after or at risk of becoming looked after. The project will examine using Family Group Conferencing to get the right children home safely at the right time. We will explore Family Group Conference with 30 families over the project period.

    Contact: Lizzie Walsh
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    HENRY – Health Exercise and Nutrition for the Really Young

    HENRY is an evidence-based child obesity prevention programme working with parents and carers with children 0-to-5 years old, helping them to develop a healthier and more active lifestyle for the whole family. The programmes will be delivered across Warwickshire, using a ‘PULSE’ approach which supports Physical, Understanding, Language, Social, and Emotional development.

    Each family referred into a HENRY programme will be offered either an 8-week group programme in the local children centres, or a one-to-one programme in the family home.

    The programmes consist of weekly one – two hour sessions for 5-8 weeks. Crèche facilities for the children will be provided for the group sessions to enable parents and carers to engage in the strength-based and solution-focused programme in order to achieve better outcomes in areas such as:

    • Parenting skills
    • Eating patterns and behaviour techniques
    • Healthy eating
    • Physical activity
    • Emotional well-being

    Every family will receive a HENRY Parent Toolkit when they enrol on a programme which includes all the materials they’ll need throughout the sessions and helpful resources to maintain their achievements long-term once they have completed the programme.

    If you would like to enrol onto a HENRY programme in your local area then please contact the HENRY Co-ordinator

  • Smart Start HENRY Program Case Study Q3 SWFT 10 Feb 2017 (PDF, 115.28 KB)
  • Contact: Rachel Wareham
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    Inspiring Futures

    Every child is entitled to begin school fully equipped to succeed and to achieve their potential. Our therapeutic parenting programme helps realise this ambition by enabling parents and caregivers to overcome past negative experiences and current challenges to be strong, encouraging and effective parents.

    Alongside the direct delivery of the Inspiring Futures Parenting Programme we will train existing service providers to deliver this empathy based programme.

    In addition to delivering the parenting programme and facilitator training, we will facilitate the development of informal self-led peer support groups.

    Evidence suggests Inspiring Futures works well in preparation for Triple P and/ or other skill based programmes, or may reduce the need for such programmes at later stages of parenthood.

    Contact: Julian Lee

  • Malachi Case Study February 17 (PDF, 27.12 KB)
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    Family Information Service 0-5 Officers

    The Family Information Service now has 2 x dedicated 0 – 5 FIS Officers in post.

    Toni Hobbs and Alex Skarlatos have been visiting groups, organisations and events that are attended by families with children aged 0 – 5 years. They have been to summer fun days, stay and play groups and children centre events around the county.

    They are also developing our Facebook and Twitter posts to signpost families to events and provide information specific to parents of 0-5’s.

    Contact: Jo Rolls
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    HY2 (Helping You Help Yourself)

    Valley House: HY2 (Helping You Help Yourself) and Families Feeling Safer

    Helping You Help Yourself is a successful, cost effective and flexible service that combines therapeutic interventions with practical support to enable isolated and vulnerable individuals to live healthier and more independent lives.

    We will work with the Priority Families team (WCC) and partner organisations (including NHS) to identify , prioritise and engage 35 families with children under the age of 5 who need additional support because they are struggling to sustain their involvement and/or because they have higher levels of risk and need (including those with CAFS). We will provide these families with a comprehensive package of personalised support including a combination of:

    • Advice, guidance and advocacy;
    • Triage;
    • 1 to 1/ group support;
    • Peer support;
    • Safe and Well support in transition to independence.
  • HY2 Case Study Q3 (PDF, 130.5 KB)
  • Contact: Carol Benson
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    Families Feeling Safer

    We will enable children and mothers who have experienced Domestic Violence and Abuse to better understand and address the impact this has had on them.

    Families Feeling Safer enables children (aged 4) to understand, articulate and then address the impact of domestic violence abuse on them. Weekly sessions (over 12 weeks) for children and (separately) their mothers will enable families to build their resilience and address the wider impacts of domestic violence and abuse. 3 Families Feeling Safer programmes will be delivered over the 12 months to enable up to 24 children (8 per programme) to receive support although actual numbers will depend on the level of need and the size of individual families.

    Contact: Katie Ozlins 

    Family Group Conferencing to Reduce Children Looked After among 0-5’s

    Family Group Conferencing is an evidence based model which provides families with an opportunity to take the lead in making safe plans for the child which address the identified concerns.

    Warwickshire County Council’s Family Group Conferencing Team successfully bid for Smart Start Funding to undertake a pilot project with Children who are Looked After aged 0-5.
    The project will be working with Social Work teams and families in Nuneaton and Bedworth, where there is a child aged 0-5 who is either Looked After or at risk of becoming Looked After.

    The project will examine using Family Group Conferencing to get the right children home safely at the right time. We will explore Family Group Conference with 30 families over the project period. By using FGC as a mechanism to plan and involving families to safely reduce children Looked After, then resources could be used more effectively and more widely to support more children.

    We have recruited 1.2 FTE Family Group Conference Co-ordinators, who will start to work with families identified by Social Workers in June 2016.

  • FGC Performance Update 07 02 17 (inc case study) (1) (PDF, 1.29 MB)
  • Contact: Lizzie Walsh

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    Delaying Pregnancy

    The ‘Delaying Pregnancy’ project aims to work with parents who have had their previous children taken into care. The service will ensure that these parents who go on to choose to have children will do this at a time when they are most likely to be successful as parents. The parents will have access to early help through parenting support programmes and maternal mental health and emotional support. The project aims to improve the parents’ levels of mental health and wellbeing and give their future children the best possible start in life safe from harm.’

    Contact:Brenda Vincent


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