For us all, 2021 continues to be year of constant reviewing and adapting and hoping for calm and stability as we move forward. Covid-19 continues to create challenges we would not have envisaged two years ago and the impact on the nation’s health, financial situation and emotional wellbeing is clear to see. Flying Start has been no different and we have seen a lot of changes over the past year. What hasn’t changed is the ambition to make a difference for families and give children in Luton a Flying Start. To use the airport analogy, we were grounded for a while but we are now taking off again. We continue to deliver services for families, albeit on a smaller scale, through the Early Years Alliance team and through funding opportunities from within Luton and outside. Services have been delivered virtually for the past year and feedback suggests that a blended model of both virtual and face to face groups work most effectively.
We are working with our partners, including Active Luton/Total Wellbeing, Cambridge Community Services and Luton Adult Learning, amongst others to aim high.
The Flying Start 10 year Strategy, which was put in place in 2014, is as important today as it was then. Maybe even more so, as we start to understand the impact of the past 18 months on our children.
The Flying Start outcomes, delivered as a partnership approach across agencies, provide the focus on key areas where early intervention is best placed to improve life chances for our children.
Collectively we aim to:
- Support the development of children’s speech, communication and language skills and improve / promote school readiness
- Support families to become more emotionally resilient with improved relationships and longer term outcomes
- Support families to increase their understanding of healthy behaviours and lifestyles and improve health outcomes
The Flying Start website www.flyingstartluton.com has undergone a refresh and will provide opportunities for families to find information for themselves and also links to other useful websites.
We know we can’t do it alone, and that we are better working together, and would like to engage with groups who are keen to work with us. We hope in the longer term, as community/faith groups and schools, start to run groups or sessions for families that we can add these to the website to make it easier for families to find services.
Flying Start will continue to run parenting programmes and have programmes for families under our Starting Well banner funded by the Department of Health & Social Care bid which we were successful with in January.
We have created a Working Together Group which will help us to develop our programmes to be assessable, acceptable and provide some ownership to our diverse communities in Luton. Alongside this sits our empowering volunteering programme.
We have just completed a successful summer holiday programme of craft, storytelling and activity sessions for families based around the Talking Takes Off benches in Luton parks. What this has highlighted is just how important these opportunities for families to get out and meet new friends really are.
Further details of all of these exciting new programmes and how to access them are provided in this months newsletter.