Luton’s Pregnancy to Five strategy

Welcome to the first e newsletter from Flying Start – Luton’s Pregnancy to Five strategy.

Neil_LeitchAs the chair of the Luton’s Flying Start Partnership, I have the honour to do the welcome and tell you why I think Flying Start is so important. I am so pleased to see the work started as part of the A Better Start bid move forward in Luton. I believe Flying Start offers a new and exciting way of working – where we move from a traditional approach which seeks to fix a problem after it has occurred, to one that looks to prevent it happening in the first place.  The evidence is unequivocal; the benefits are tenfold if support services collectively invest at the earliest opportunity.  Focusing on nutrition, communication, language and literacy, and social and emotional development, Flying Start will provide a cohesive approach that will bring about real and lasting change to families facing hardship and uncertainty. The aim is to bring a real change in the ways services are offered, from healthcare to early years and other frontline services, to put primary prevention at the centre and set a positive course for children and families in the critical years of life.

I hope you will agree with me this is a very important strategy for Luton and I look forward to working with you to deliver this strategy together.

Please take a chance to look at the e newsletter which aims to provide you with regular information and updates on Flying Start and how the implementation of the strategy is developing. Please circulate widely to your staff and colleagues.

We have also just launched our Flying Start website where you can find out more about the strategy, implementation plans and how to get involved. Please do take the time to have a look at the site.

Best wishes





Luton’s Flying Start Strategy is launched

Flying Start Photo 1Luton’s Flying Start strategy has now been agreed by the Flying Start Area Partnership and is now officially Luton’s pregnancy to five year’s strategy. Flying Start is a 10 year strategy, which lays out our ambitious vision, aim and key objectives to deliver on the four Flying Start outcomes across the whole of Luton. Flying Start will focus on primary prevention and early intervention with the aim of making positive and systematic change to the lives and life chances of our very youngest children.  You may have noticed an extension of the age range of Flying Start from three to five years; this was agreed to ensure that Luton had only one strategic plan covering the early years of life.

Flying Start will work with partners to improve how we deliver integrated services for parents from pregnancy to their child’s fifth birthday.  We will be testing evidence and science based interventions in those wards which have the poorest child outcomes and while this is primarily in Dallow, Biscot, South, Farley and Northwell, there are other wards where the data also indicates there are poor child health outcomes. Based on robust evaluation of these interventions, if they evidence a positive impact on outcomes, opportunities to scale up interventions will be explored.

You can read the full strategy here.

The Four Flying Start outcomes

unnamed By the end of 10 years:

  • Significantly more children, by their 5th birthday, will have age-appropriate communication skills, will interact effectively with adults and children, resulting in better educational outcomes and improved employment opportunities.
  • More children are securely attached and emotionally resilient, with improved school readiness.  In the longer term the impact of poor maternal mental health & associated risk factors on children’s outcomes are reduced.
  • Babies will have improved birth outcomes; with fewer women obese in pregnancy, improved understanding of nutrition and healthy behaviours, breastfeeding will be increased and fewer children are obese or have dental decay, with improved health and wellbeing into adulthood.

unnamed (1)Within 5 years:

  • Parent and community-led decision making will positively and systematically change the lives and life chances of 0-5 year olds for future generations.  During the period Flying Start Executive aims to reallocate linked investment from core budgets into sustainable evidence based early intervention programmes and programmes for future parents.



Five-to-Thrive-(1)-1Five to Thrive training

Five to Thrive is an approach which has been developed and tested to train practitioners to support parents to develop strong attachment with their babies through the use of five simple messages RESPOND, CUDDLE, RELAX, PLAY and TALK.  This simple approach builds on the significant scientific evidence of the importance of these five activities in promoting optimal brain development in babies and young children. Since January 2015 over 380 staff from across the children’s workforce have attended five to thrive training and are starting to integrated the key message into their practice.

We have some new training dates available:

  • 14th September 2015
  • 16th November 2015
  • 20th January 2016
  • 23rd March 2016

For further details please

Integrated working

Flying Start is working with its partners to test new ways of working effectively together to make sure services are delivered to meet parent’s needs.

Bumps, Babes and Toddlers Plus Pilot

An integrated drop in clinic is being piloted in Park Town as part of this work. The “drop in” is being delivered jointly by the Community  Midwifery team, the Health Visiting  service together with the  local Children’s Centre.The clinic for parents, offers the opportunity to access one stop support for both  pregnant mums and dads and for those with young children. Early indications are looking positive and this pilot will report findings in June 2015.

Flying_Start_Group_Photo_30052015Bump 2 Babe – universal antenatal parenting classes

Bump 2 Babe is the current antenatal parenting programme for all first time mothers and their partners in Luton. Each course is facilitated by a Community Midwife, Health Visitor, Infant Feeding Advisers and Children’s Centre staff to provide a comprehensive overview of how best to prepare for your new baby’s birth whilst looking after your health and building a new relationship with your baby. Bump 2 Babe encourages partners to attend the short course to better understand the valuable contribution they bring to this special time in life. This time is not only the start of your new family, but an opportunity to find out about the wider support network at your local Children’s Centres and meet new parents who may live nearby. Flying Start aims to strengthen this partnership during 2015 to ensure more first time parents can access the programme and give a better start for all infants with their family.

Getting involved

Flying Start is all about parents, communities and organisations working together to improve how we deliver services for children and families. Flying Start’s vision highlights the value of the talent in our communities and seeks to empower local people to drive change at a local level.

How can I get involved?

By joining one of our local Community Partnerships or standing for election to our Area Partnership to help shape the work that we do with babies, young children and their families or by becoming a Flying Start Volunteer

Flying Start’s Community Partnership

Working with families and communities is at the heart of what drives Flying Start. Working in partnership is important to ensure we understand how to improve children’s lives and respond to what is important for parents.

Flying Start‘s Community Partnership provides the means by which people living and working in the Flying Start wards can get involved in directing the Flying Start programme and ensure it delivers exactly what is needed by parents.

The partnership is made up of a wide range of representatives including parents, community leaders, people who work with families from the voluntary sector and also includes health visitors, midwives, early years managers and workers, children centres staff and faith leaders to name just a few.

Representatives from the Community Partnership sit on the Flying Start Area Partnership and are involved in making decisions about the how Flying Start is delivered.

To register an interest in the Community Partnership please email Joe Biskupski


Flying Start is committed to harness the skills and passion of local people to make a real difference in their community. Flying Start wishes to recruit volunteers from all community groups and will be particularly interested in people who speak community languages. Flying Start volunteers will be offered the chance to develop new skills and gain qualifications and will be fully supported through the programme.
We have some great opportunities for you to help support babies, young children and their families to achieve their potential. We run a number of different projects, so if volunteering is something you would like to do, we have a role for you! Our volunteering opportunities currently include:

  • Get Active – volunteering to encourage and support parents to use local open spaces in the community for leisure activities with their children; training and accreditation will be available for a Sports Leadership qualification.
  • Father’s involvement – peer to peer support for fathers.
  • Communication and language development – volunteers are trained to deliver key messages about communication and language development in babies and toddlers.

Be part of our volunteering team

Volunteering is a great way of gaining valuable experience, developing your prospects or just generally making you feel good. Here at Flying Start we see volunteers as a vital part of making our projects a success.
We’re looking for enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers to bring in new skills, knowledge and experience to work as part of Flying Start.
Flying Start will offer:

  • A real chance to make a huge difference for your community
  • Accredited training and development opportunities
  • Support
  • A professional reference

Please note that Flying Start Volunteers will need to undergo an Enhanced DBS check and Safeguarding Training before starting on chosen projects.
If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering please email Joe Biskupski

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