About the project

A Better Start Southend (ABSS) is a 10-year programme to develop and test new ways of supporting Southend’s children and families. It is about using new ways of thinking to solve some of the problems that have affected local children and families for years. The programme started life in April 2015 and is one of five Better Start areas across the country funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.

The programme supports families of under 4s and expectant parents living in six of Southend’s Wards; Kursaal, Milton, Victoria, Shoeburyness, West Shoebury and Westborough.

The Turning Tides Team at SAVS is contracted to help introduce new parents to the programme, to promote co-production and to run Parent Champion and Ambassador Training. We also offer support and guidance in many different ways to parents who are part of the programme.

Ways to get involved

Engagement Events

A chance to take part in fun events for you and your children. Engagement Events provide an opportunity to experience the benefits of A Better Start Southend through interactive sessions.

All Engagement Events are Parent Led, meaning parents have thought of the idea and delivered the session. Previous events include Teddy Bears’ Picnics, Fun Fitness Classes, Healthy Eating Workshops and big Festive Celebrations. If you have an idea for an event, our Engagement Team will support you through the process.

Tea & Coffee sessions

Four Tea & Tots sessions are held each month in venues across Southend providing an opportunity for parents/carers to enjoy a chat and talk about new ideas they’d like to see made available to families in their area. A supervised play session is included for children to enjoy and the Engagement team on hand to provide information and support for parents as needed.

Coffee mornings are a chance for you to drop in for a tea or coffee and a catch-up with the Engagement Team and other parents. They’re a great informal way to meet other like-minded parents.

Research & Co-Production

By signing up to A Better Start Southend, we’ll be able to keep you informed about local workshops and meetings relating to children services in Southend. We’re also often approached by research projects and organisations who would like to hear the opinions and experiences of local parents.

Co-production, meaning parents being involved in the design and delivery of services is an essential part of A Better Start Southend. We’ll let you know when projects are coming up that you can be part of designing.

Governance Meetings

Parent Champions are able to attend Governance Meetings, which oversee and help to manage A Better Start Southend. By attending these meetings, parents are able to have full visibility about the services being delivered and how the programme is being managed. They are also an opportunity to raise concerns, or provide essential input thanks to their experiences of being parents.

Communications Group

If you are creative, or would like to learn new skills, then the Communications Group is for you! Projects relating to Social Media, digital, design, illustration and general creativity are worked on with parents via a monthly meeting. Previous projects include; newsletters, mascot designing, social media campaigns, radio interviews, creating Southend’s first parent and child conference and even being on BBC One.

ABSS Promotion

You’ll see the Engagement Team at various locations and events in Southend helping to promote the benefits of A Better Start Southend. We attend community events, schools, nurseries and local meetings to help spread the word. We always welcome any help from parents too.

You might also spot Pip, the mascot, out and about engaging the community.

Funding Opportunities

Community Ideas and Development Fund

The ABSS Community Ideas and Development (CID) Fund is seeking to support community led change. This fund helps support community groups and organisations who have a great idea about how to improve lives for Southend’s expectant families, young children and parents, assisting them to put their creativity into action.

Successful project proposals will;

  • Be innovative and creative
  • Help us to achieve our goals and strategic objectives
  • Bring forward new ideas
  • Support approaches which build partnership working
  • Be sustainable in the long-term
  • Look to deliver specialist interventions, where appropriate.

For more information please email absspmo@eyalliance.org.uk

To find out more, call the SAVS ABSS Team on 01702 356 069 or send us an email.

In Partnership With

Early Years Alliance

The Early Years Alliance is the largest and most representative early years membership organisation in England. Our vision is a society where every child enjoys the opportunity to learn through play. We believe families should be at the centre of policy-making and empowered to become fully involved with their child’s learning and development.