Funding boost for community projects gives Warwickshire’s children a Smart Start!

79 community projects which aim to support young children in Warwickshire to become school ready, have successfully bid for Smart Start funding.

£250,000 has been made available to community groups, charities, social enterprises and local projects from across Warwickshire from the Smart Start Programme. Each project will receive a one-off payment of up to £2,500 or a larger amount from a joint bid in order to give Warwickshire children the best start possible.

The projects receiving funding cover a range of areas, including counselling for children who have experienced domestic abuse, mental health support for parents, projects to improve oral health, literacy and numeracy projects for families, breastfeeding support, play groups for children with special educational needs and many more.

One of the successful projects, Parents in Mind, plan to develop peer support to pregnant women and new mums experiencing mental health difficulties.

Beckie Lang, National Perinatal Mental Health Project Manager, who is responsible for the delivery of this initiative said:

“We are delighted to have received local Smart Start funding to enhance our developing Parents in Mind project. Volunteer peer supporters are key to the service which this project provides to women experiencing emotional difficulties in pregnancy and early parenthood. The funding means we can train another group of volunteers this year and provide more support to local families”.

The Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery propose to develop a new activity for under 5s and their families within the Museum space based upon the theme of “Exploration & Discovery” to enhance school readiness via social interaction, storytelling, activity participation and developing listening skills.

Matt Johnson, Museum Outreach Officer said

“We are very much looking forward to developing this project for launch during summer 2017.”

Cllr Jerry Roodhouse, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Chair of the 0-5 Strategy Group commented:

“We are really pleased to be supporting 79 grass roots projects through which we can contribute to the implementation of the Smart Start strategy, and give children and families in Warwickshire the best start in life. The projects successful in their bids will provide parents and children with a wide range of activities and support to access from peer support for pregnant women to forest schools and playgroups.”

Cllr Les Caborn, Portfolio Holder for Health said

“It is great to see that young children in Warwickshire will now benefit from the new projects being funded. A number of these initiatives will allow local groups to invest in new equipment, establish new groups or improve current services for parents and carers to help them give their children a ‘Smart Start’.

Cllr Richard Chattaway of the Labour Group said

“We were delighted to have received such a huge response to the community grants fund from projects across Warwickshire. Any additional funding and support for parents and young children is always welcomed and I look forward to seeing the positive outcomes the funding brings”.

For more information on the Smart Start programme or on the projects receiving funding, please visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/smartstart ,or email smartstart@warwickshire.gov.uk.