Flying Start May 2021

You will be aware of the sad news that Flying Start Children Centres closed their doors for the last time on the 31st March 2021, due to a loss of income from the airport because of Covid-19. 

The good news is that Flying Start has not gone away.  Flying Start is the overarching umbrella for the antenatal to five year period in Luton, and delivered through a partnership approach.  The Early Years Alliance holds the reins for the co-ordination and delivery of a range of universal services for families with under-fives in Luton, working collaboratively with our key partner agencies and working alongside the community itself.

Together our aim is to help reduce inequalities that exist for some communities and to help parents support their children to have the best start in life.

What’s available for parents?

  • A range of parenting programmes, under five communication and language sessions and workshops on a variety of topics are being offered and a timetable is available on the Flying Start Website.  The guidance sheet below provides information on the services and who they are suitable for. Details of times and dates is available on the website
  • Solihull online Parenting Offer

Flying Start Luton and CCS have invested in a multi-user license for award winning, quality marked, evidence based online courses by the Solihull Approach (a national NHS organisation).  This is a Free resource for all parents/ carers/ grandparents/ professionals working with under-fives and living in Luton.  Visit 

Access Code: HATTERS and a Luton postcode

  • Understanding your pregnancy, birth, labour and baby (antenatal)
  • Understanding your baby (postnatal up to 9 months old)
  • Understanding your child (up to 18 years)
  • Understanding your teenager’s brain (11-18 years)
  • Understanding your child with additional needs
  • The Flying Start website will be undergoing a transformation and have easily accessible information for families by the age/stage of the child.  It will link into evidence and science based information and guide users to other websites where they can access the information they are seeking. This will include health information offered by Cambridge Community Services and NHS websites.  It will include easy links to The Luton Directory and the Luton Local Family Offer.

Additional support and services are available through the Starting Well Programme for pregnant parents and families in the antenatal to 2 year period if they reside in the following wards: Dallow, South, Farley or Northwell.  Please contact us for further details.

Email  or call 01582 368245

What’s available for professionals?

We continue to offer a range of multi-agency training offered virtually or face to face (when Government restrictions allow)

How to get involved with Flying Start?

We offer two Flying Start Volunteer roles:

  • Parent Champions
  • Parent Buddies – enhanced position

Further details will be released shortly on the website.

We are keen to work with community groups offering universal services to support with key messages for parents in ‘giving children a flying start in life’

The following information provides an overview of all of the Flying Start activities and some of the partner activities we are co-supporting

Flying Start Universal Offer 

Flying Start will continue to offer a programme for all families in Luton with under 5s. At present, these groups are all virtual via the ZOOM platform but we hope to develop face to face sessions later in the year.  Please encourage parents to visit and email  or call 01582 368245 to book.

Antenatal and Postnatal Services

Luton Bumps on Zoom – women only

This runs on Zoom for an hour every other week providing a great opportunity for women to talk with each other about life in/post lockdown whilst pregnant. They can share experiences, support each other and ask questions whilst getting some advice from our staff and guest speakers, including a midwife. Women are encouraged to view the antenatal education videos provided online in advance of attending and can also join a WhatsApp group to stay in contact during and after pregnancy.

Suitable for: Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy living in Luton

Keeping Baby Safe Workshop on Zoom

Safe at Home offer child safety advice and support to expectant and new parents in a virtual small 2 hour group session, including a free child safety gift bag. Our safety advisor offers top tips on how to make informed and safer choices when buying nursery equipment and parents can learn important techniques on protecting their new-born in the early months of life. Parents will have opportunity to ask questions about nursery products that they are considering buying or maybe already using. The session also covers the Tubes of Life programme and its importance for parents and their baby.

Suitable for: Pregnant women and partners at any pregnancy stage and new parents in Luton

Starting Solids Workshop on Zoom

This 1.5 hour session provides information on when, what and how to introduce solid foods.

Suitable for: New parents with babies 3 to 6 months who have not yet started solids

Early Days

This 30 minute zoom group offers parents with babies the opportunity to socialise and learn through play- using songs, signs and rhymes.

Suitable for: Parents with babies under 12 months living in Luton

Other Under 5 Services for Luton families run by Flying Start

Parent Workshops on Zoom

These workshops will be in café style- giving a great opportunity for parents to talk with others, share experiences, and support each other whilst getting some non-medical advice.

  • Sleep and Bedtime Routines Suitable for: Parents of babies aged 1 and under  
  • Toilet Training Suitable for: Parents of 1 to 3 year olds (before or during toilet training)
  • Terrific Twos Suitable for: Parents of 2 year olds (behaviour, routines, learning)

Parenting Puzzle Programme

This four week programme supports parents of babies and young children with a focus on the importance of attachment, empathy, positive discipline, play and communication.

Suitable for: Parents of under 5s living in Luton

HENRY Healthy Lifestyles Programme

This 8 week programme supports parents in ensuring a healthy start for their child. Children can make mealtimes feel stressful and providing healthy lifestyles for them can be challenging. Henry helps to overcome those challenges so you can have a happy and healthy family life.

Suitable for: Parents of under 5s living in Luton

Safe at Home          

Safe at Home Luton is a child accident prevention programme aimed at families from pregnancy through to the child’s 5th birthday. They offer FREE advice and support to all families, and parents on low income and receiving benefits may qualify for home safety equipment (dependant on a home assessment).

Suitable for: Parents of under 5s living in Luton

Solihull Online Learning

Five free e-courses covering from pregnancy up to the teenager years. These e-courses are relevant to all parents/carers of all children including those with special needs. Visit: Access Code: HATTERS

Other Under 5s Services for Luton families running in partnership

Check into Chat (Luton Adult Learning)

This is a free, short course (3 weeks), delivered on Zoom, to help families to develop speech, language and communication in children under 3.

  • Find out how young children learn to communicate and develop language skills through everyday activities and routines
  • Gather ideas to help your child’s communication skills at home
  • Develop the way you communicate with your child

To book: please call 07477807017 (Monday to Thursday 8am to 4pm) or 01582 490033

Healthy Start Vitamins 

All pregnant and breastfeeding women and children from birth until 5 years old need vitamin supplements (for children who are having 500ml or more of formula a day these vitamins are not needed). Healthy Start vitamins are suitable for vegetarians and halal diets, and free from milk, egg, gluten, soya and peanut residues.

Vitamins can now be purchased/collected from Active Luton sites:

Hightown Community Sports & Arts Centre (Concorde Street, Luton, LU2 0JD)

Contactless payments or Healthy Start vouchers only

  • Monday             11am to 4pm
  • Wednesday       11am to 4pm

Lea Manor Recreation Centre (Northwell Drive, Luton, LU3 3TL)

  • Monday to Friday        11am to 4pm
  • Saturday                      10am to 1pm

Lewsey Sport Park (Pastures Way, Luton, LU4 0PF)

  • Monday to Friday        11am to 4pm
  • Saturday                      10am to 1pm

Total Wellbeing Healthy Pregnancy Programme (Total Wellbeing Luton)

Pregnancy Nutrition Support: Total Wellbeing can offer 1-2-1 support virtually or via telephone on eating well for a healthy pregnancy

Health Walks: Health Walks for pregnant and post-natal women (and partners) once a week. A chance to walk and talk all things pregnancy and beyond. These are led by the Total Wellbeing Health Walk Leader and Nutritionist.

Exercise Classes: Active Luton offer pregnancy-specific exercise classes with an antenatal trained instructor. *These Sessions are £3 but there are also free online classes to support home exercise during and after pregnancy.

Mental Health Therapist Support: Total Wellbeing therapists provide free emotional wellbeing support online, via telephone, virtual 1-2-1 sessions and/or group workshops for women during and after pregnancy

Stop Smoking Support: Stopping smoking at ANY point during pregnancy is better than not stopping at all. Free support is also available for family members. Face to face or by telephone.

Call 0300 555 4152, Email or text ‘TWLpregnancy’ to 60066

Flying Start Learning & Development Hub: Free Training for Professionals

We are continuing to invest in providing opportunities for staff to access evidence based learning and development courses to support the primary prevention and early help key messages that underpin healthy development in the very earliest years of life.

At present we have the following training available:

  • Five to Thrive e-learning and in person training coming soon from KCA
  • SEND e-learning from KCA
  • Talking Takes Off- Universal and Enhanced training (both live and recorded)

Please check the professional training area of our website for the latest information and/or email / call 01582 548356