Flying Start Conference 2017

Flying Start conference 2017 – building family resilience

Over 120 professionals attended the Flying Start’s Conference in November 2017 which focused on building family resilience and Flying Start outcomes. The event was opened by Stephanie Cash – Flying Start Service Manager, who recapped for delegates the journey Flying Start has been on since its inception in June 2014. Steph reported that Flying Start is now seen by professionals as a well-recognised partnership within Luton, and also recognised as a brand by parents. This has been enhanced since children’s centres delivery in Luton became part of Flying Start in January 2017.

The informative day had presentations from a range of key partners who work closely with Flying Start with the shared ambition to improve children’s outcomes from pregnancy to five.
One of conference key note speakers was Trevor Holden, Chief Executive Luton Council, who set the scene with his presentation on the Luton Investment Framework. Trevor highlighted the importance of Flying Start in establishing the foundation for all Luton’s children to reap the longer term benefits from the inward investment into Luton for a prosperous future. Our second Key Note Speaker was George Hosking, Chief Executive of the WAVE Trust, who led on the influential 1001 critical days. George’s thought provoking presentation called Resilience: what builds it, what destroys it, and what to do about it was informative and challenging. George presented the evidence about the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences in the context of preventative work.

Conference presentations focused across the three Flying Starts outcome areas. Delegates were provided with information on the implementation of the wide range of interventions and services being delivered through Flying Start. These included: Me Time Family; Community Dental Health Services; Health Visiting use of Five to Thrive in practice with families; supporting inter parental couple’s relationships in the antenatal period; the implementation of the pilot project Baby Talk with the Anna Freud Centre and the implementation of HENRY (Healthy Eating and Nutrition in the Really Young). In addition, Professor Gurch Randhawa from the University of Bedfordshire spoke on the importance of evaluation, and Dr Rosemary Davidson presented early findings from one of the initiative Luton developed interventions delivered in early year’s settings – Sign 4 Little Talkers.

Flying Start Children Centres staff provided a wonderful insight into their work and used case studies to demonstrate the delivery of universal and targeted work they deliver to families across the town. The event was also interspersed with service user’s feedback explaining the value of the parenting courses being offered in our Children’s Centre and at Steppingstones.

Following an interactive exercise aimed at understanding the impact on life chances of poor early language and communication, delegates were asked to make their 2017 pledge. These pledges will be reviewed and presented at the next Flying Start conference – date to be confirmed!
Delegates were able to visit a range of market stalls including Flying Start parenting programmes, Safe at Home, Luton CCG’s Urgent Care avoidance, Oral Health, Health Watch along with many others.

To see the powerpoint presentations from the day, please contact

Feedback quotes from delegates
• Just a quick note to say that I attended the conference yesterday and to commend all the great work that is being done. There was a real sense of collective ownership and commitment from CE through to individual services, and that evaluation is built in and already some positive outcomes. George Hosking’s talk on resilience and ACE set the scene and all could see how ACE is threaded through the services and programs. Dr Barbara Paterson- Deputy Director Health and Wellbeing Public Health England

• I just wanted to say how professional, well organised and informative yesterday’s conference was. It made me feel really proud to work for Luton and to be a partner within the Flying Start strategy. Thanks for all your hard work and continued aspirations for the people of Luton. Please thank your team for making the day such a success. Merielle James- Luton Adult Learning

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