A total of 19 projects are due to receive support through the new Health and Wellbeing Fund, which focuses on assisting mothers living in black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) communities or deprived areas.
With the aim of reducing health inequalities among new mothers and babies, the £7.6m fund will help charities run and expand projects to:
- boost mental health for new and expectant mothers
- improve the development of babies and children
- give people the best chance for a healthy start by preventing obesity and diabetes
Set up across the country, from Cornwall to Lancashire, the 19 winning projects include a number of innovative schemes aimed at levelling up BAME groups and promoting healthy behaviours.
Public Health Minister, Jo Churchill said: “Everyone deserves to live a long, healthy life and the perfect time to start to achieve it is in the beginning.
“Vital support for improving mental health of mothers, nutrition of babies and the learning and development of children in early years will help ensure the best possible start by reducing the inequality that some face.
“We have had some fantastic, innovative applications for the Health and Wellbeing Fund. I’m looking forward to seeing these winning projects in action, making real, tangible improvements to the lives and health of families.”
The £7.6m funding awarded will be spread across three years to improve the lives of families in their local areas. Some of the projects include:
- a scheme in Birmingham which will expand an existing parental engagement programme to reach parents earlier – the project will support the earlier identification of children who need language support before the age of 2 through building the knowledge and confidence in early years’ practitioners and professionals, as well as their parents
- a project in Croydon which will support survivors of trafficking and asylum seekers by tailoring intensive support to meet mothers’ needs – it will include weekly emotional support from trained perinatal peer support volunteers and qualified doulas as birth companions for the most vulnerable
- scheme in Leicester which will provide a joined-up care pathway for all families with a focus on BAME communities, giving children the best start in life by complementing existing statutory provision – the service will expand the reach of breastfeeding antenatal support, with a focus on younger women and those who do not speak English
The Health and Wellbeing Fund is already supporting 23 social prescribing schemes and 23 children and young people’s mental health schemes, providing vital services to communities across England.