Anna Freud and Flying Start Project

Flying Start and the Anna Freud Centre London are working together on an exciting project. Attachment based baby groups called Think Baby Groups are now offered at the Flying Start Children’s Centre. This project is building on a successful pilot project in 2014/15 and evaluation and research will be undertaken on a larger scale to include all Flying Start Neighbourhood Centres as part of a Luton wide project.



The aim of the Flying Start Think Baby group is to augment support for the psychological needs of targeted babies and parents. The group is designed to improve the parent infant relationship with a “Think Baby” approach.


Style of group

Families are referred to the group, which is offered as a universal drop-in service to avoid stigma, open to all parents with children 0-12 months. The group is modelled as a ‘Think Baby’ group and parents and babies are encourage to be focused on their interactions rather than more traditional styles of activities . The change to the group is subtle but all modifications are focused to support development of positive interactions and improved attachment.


Think Baby groups now taking referrals:

  • Flying Start Central at Blenheim Crescent Church Hall, Blenheim Crescent, LU3 1HB
  • Flying Start South at Unit 3G-4G, The Gallery, The Mall, LU1 2TW (above Thorntons)

From September onwards groups will also be running in North and West neighbourhood and details can be found on the website under each children’s centre neighbourhood timetable:

Suitable referrals

  • Families with babies age 0-11 months where there may be some support with attachment required
  • Families identified on a health pathway as universal plus

Suitable referrals can be made to the groups using the service request form

It would be expected that an EHA would have been completed if the parent has identified needs which sit at a Level 2/3.


Group facilitators

The staff delivering the group has been trained to understand the psychological needs of parents and infants for healthy development with a particular focus to reorient thinking towards a more psychologically-based view of infancy.



Evaluation from the Anna Freud Centre, on the impact for staff, includes:

  • Demonstrable improvements in confidence to work with parents and babies
  • Increased skill in observations and intervening when necessary, including modelling behaviour to parents

Local evaluation also shows:


  • Parents attending the Children’s Centre much earlier as the session is viewed as a warm social environment for their baby
  • Parents report feeling less isolated and accessing many more of the services offered by the Children’s Centre
  • Barriers were broken down across diverse ethnicity of the group through facilitating sharing exchanges and the focus on the babies

Funding for the majority of the project has been provided by The Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust and evaluation will be undertaken to measure the impact with a key research focus on children’s development and longer term attainment. Further details can be requested from Christine Rogers:


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *