Wardown Park once again hosted Luton’s annual Picnic in the Park on 10 June – providing an excellent opportunity for visitors to learn about the work being done by Flying Start – Luton’s ambitious retention and early intervention strategy.
Hosted by the Pre-school Learning Alliance, the event attracts thousands of families with young children to a range of fun activities put on by pre-schools and nurseries, while learning about a variety of childcare and family support services available in Luton.
More than 3000 visitors enjoyed craft activities, face painting and soft play, as well as a fantastic mobile farm with lots of friendly farm animals providing a real hands-on educational experience for young children and families.
Opening the event, the Mayor of Luton, Cllr Dave Taylor was joined by Neil Leitch, Chief Executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance in chatting with visitors and stallholders as they made their way through the colourful stalls, many of which embraced this year’s theme – Communication and Language: Luton’s little talkers – with a range of storytelling, reading and children’s theatre activities. Parents and carers had the chance to visit the Flying Start information stall to find out about the work of Flying Start and to learn about volunteering opportunities.
Bringing together local partners including the Pre-school Learning Alliance, Luton Borough Council, the Clinical Commissioning Group, as well as local voluntary and community organisations, the Flying Start partnership aims to “improve the outcomes of our children from pregnancy to 5 years of age as a foundation to a healthy future”.
During 2015, Flying Start is offering volunteers the chance to work with families to support underfives’ communication and language needs, lead and encourage physical exercise for families of young children, and provide support to new fathers. Volunteers will be provided with accredited training, and will be supported by Flying Start staff as they work to make a real difference to the lives and life chances of young children and their families.
There are also opportunities for people to help shape the work that Flying Start does with babies, young children and their families by joining local Flying Start Community Partnerships or standing for election to the Flying Start Area Partnership.