Reducing child health inequalities in the UK
Best Beginnings aims to give every child in the UK the healthiest start in life by acting as a catalyst for change. We create innovative, collaborative and evidence-based resources that enable families and healthcare professionals to be more effective in reducing child health inequalities.
Best Beginnings began work in 2006, since then we have reached over 1.5 million families but there is still much to be done to give every child in the UK the healthiest start in life.
In the UK there are huge child health inequalities; socio-economic status and ethnicity are key factors. A quarter of all deaths under the age of one in the UK would be prevented if there were no child health inequalities. These inequalities lead to premature birth, serious illnesses, developmental disorders and deaths in early infancy. They have lifelong effects - children from more challenging backgrounds are more likely to suffer from obesity, heart disease, cancer and mental health issues.
We work from the evidence-base to focus on the areas of health inequalities where we can make a real difference. For example our next major project Small Wonders will help parents play a pivotal role in their baby’s care. This already happens in a few neonatal units but most babies don’t have the reduced rates of serious infections, improved cognitive skills in later life and, improved emotional attachment, interaction and well-being that family centred care provides.
Ensure parents are supported to make positive choices that improve their children’s health.
Activities» Create dynamic, evidence-based resources which use the journeys and experiences of real families to inform and educate parents.
» Provide healthcare professionals with the same resources to improve their knowledge and emphasise the importance of family-centred care.
» Train healthcare professionals to use the resources to effectively support families.
Success will be a measurable increase in parents understanding of the part they can play in their baby's care.
Promote equal access to health services for families with babies.
Activities» Provide resources, information and support to all families in the UK with babies.
» Whilst providing resources to all families, target those who need the most support.
» Change and challenge attitudes and behaviours by overcoming the prejudices and misconceptions that foster inequalities in health care.
Success will be an evaluated increase in the knowledge of healthcare professionals and increased access to resources that empower them to support parents.
Increase public awareness of the health issues affecting mothers and children.
Activities» Collaborate with charities and healthcare professionals to ensure evidence-based information and high quality services are available to all.
» Lobby decision makers in government to ensure their awareness and understanding of child health inequalities and their consequences.
Success will be productive partnerships with other charities working in this area and effective lobbying of government to ensure healthcare inequalities are a priority.
Our work increases understanding and, changes attitudes and behaviours. We reached 1.5 million parents with ‘From bump to breastfeeding’ – a DVD resource that rigorous, independent evaluation has shown increases breastfeeding rates. Our next major resource, ‘Small Wonders’, will create a sea-change in non-clinical care for premature and sick babies and create measurable change in the knowledge and practice of family-centred care.
The risks of our work are that it does not: a) speak to and empower parents, b) help healthcare professionals to be more effective, c) complement the existing work of the NHS and other charities. To ensure that all our projects do achieve these things we undertake extensive focus group work with parents, ensure that healthcare professionals are stakeholders in the development of new resources and work in partnership with medical Royal Colleges and other charities.
Donors to this project will be kept informed through our website where they can watch film clips about our work. Donors will also receive regular updates via newsletter and email, detailing our ongoing progress and forthcoming activities, allowing them to see how our work is evolving and developing.
Budget - Project Cost: £712,996Loading graph....
Amount Heading Description £93,255 Operating Costs Rent, equipment, office costs, fundraising and governance costs £237,051 Salaries Salaries & PAYE for seven staff members (two to be recruited later in the year) £165,887 Small Wonders DVD duplication, distribution, evaluation & healthcare professional training £66,803 Small Wonders Training parents of premature & sick babies as peer supporters £90,000 Art Competition Developing an art competition on the dangers of drink and drugs during pregnancy £60,000 Phone App Developing smart phone applications to support the transition to parenthood
Current Funding / Pledges
Source Amount Income from the government (restricted) £106,803 Guaranteed Trusts & Foundations (unrestricted) £45,000 Guaranteed Trusts & Foundations (restricted) £136,051 Conditional
Best Beginnings' work is UK wide but particularly aims to target those parents and families from lower socio-economic backgrounds and communities who are most affected by child health inequalities. A child born in a poorer part of the Midlands is six times more likely to die in infancy than one born in an affluent part of Hampshire. Our work aims to break cycles of disadvantage by reaching audiences who may not otherwise engage effectively with healthcare information and services.
Our work benefits present and future parents, families, healthcare professionals and babies in the UK. The lives of 600,000 babies born in the UK each year can be improved by our work. We’ve already reached 1.5 million families since November 2010 with our ‘From bump to breastfeeding’ DVD. Our forthcoming resource, Small Wonders, will be given to 80,000 parents of sick and premature babies in 2012-2013 giving Britain’s most vulnerable babies a healthier start.
The work of Best Beginnings is unique. We work collaboratively, from the evidence-base and have a track record of using film and technology to inform parents and healthcare professionals and change attitudes and behaviour. Best Beginnings has the credibility, confidence and ambition to deliver new and pioneering approaches to improve children’s health. We make the most of the window of opportunity between preconception and two years of age where foundations for a healthy childhood are laid.
Read more about the Charity running this project.
Best Beginnings' work is empowering parents to make informed decisions.
Best Beginnings work is giving healthcare professionals the tools they need to advise and support families.
They are enabling Best Beginnings to create effective resources and, evaluate and improve them.
Best Beginnings Team
We are turning your donations into effective, tested and practical means of reducing child health inequalities.
I believe the [Small Wonders] DVD will make a difference to people’s lives. It will empower people in what is a really difficult time.