About the Early Years Alliance

Baby and mum smiling

The Early Years Alliance believes that the combination of quality early learning experiences, parent participation and the correct support services for families, delivered as early as possible, are key in raising attainment, maintaining positive health and wellbeing and improving school readiness. Our mission is to ensure that all children, regardless of background, are given the best possible start in life. 

Working in the sector for more than 60 years, we have a proven track record in helping and supporting children, young people and their families to achieve positive outcomes and changes for life. We have an experienced, qualified workforce skilled in working with babies, infants, children and young people, as well as their parents and carers.  

We specialise in working with children and their families in the first 1,001 days of life and up to the age of five.

Our focus is on preventing problems occurring wherever possible by providing a range of excellent universal and universal plus services in the heart of local communities. 

We have provided early years services in partnership with Local Authorities in England since the Sure Start initiative launch in 1999.

Our services and partnerships continue and over the past 22 years we have strengthened, listened, learned and developed to be a significant provider of early years, antenatal, parental engagement, childcare provision, adult and family learning and volunteering through early intervention and children’s centre services, reaching thousands of families across the country. 

Our community-based approach and our ability to work in partnership with local health partners, local authorities, schools and early years settings, wider voluntary sector organisations and community groups is an asset for delivering services in an accessible way for families who may sometimes find mainstream services hard to engage with. 

Our current projects include

Lincolnshire 

In Lincolnshire we have been a commissioned provider consistently since 2004, holding early years, parent and toddler outreach, crèche, parental engagement and participation, skills development and currently The Best Start Early Years and Family Service. All our services have been graded as Good or Outstanding throughout their duration.  

Lewisham 

We have been the commissioned provider of children’s centres, in the London Borough of Lewisham since 2012, exceeding our community and targeted reach targets for the last five years. We provide high quality universal services, outreach services into schools and the wider community, and a range of targeted family support, parenting and domestic abuse programmes. 

Visit: Lewisham Children and Families Centres

Luton 

In Luton, the Alliance has been a trusted integrated partner with Luton Council for more than 24 years.

We have previously provided strategic leadership and management for the implementation and ongoing performance management of the original 23 children centres, alongside delivery of other national programmes. In 2014/15 we led a funding application for A Better Start Lottery bid which then became the Flying Start programme, later adopted as Luton’s Antenatal to Five Year Strategy.  

We continue to offer a range of universal and early help services and. programmes in Luton, currently offering these through a town wide Flying Start Hub model. Parents and community groups are encouraged to be part of our ongoing service review and planning by being part of our Working Together Group. 

Visit: Flying Start Luton

Southend 

Since A Better Start Southend (ABSS) started in 2015, it has worked with more than 4,500 children and their parents, providing support and advice on a range of topics relating to diet and nutrition, language and communication, and social and emotional development. Currently 38.7% of eligible people living in ABSS wards in Southend are taking part in an ABSS project or service.  

The benefits of the programme can be seen in improvements in a range of official figures from breastfeeding rates to assessments of children’s development when they start school. Parents have also reported increased confidence in their parenting skills and their knowledge about how they can support their child’s development. 

Visit: A Better Start Southend

Bradford 

In Bradford we support informal universal play and learning provision to help promote wellbeing, promote healthy activities, influence the home learning environment and enable school readiness for children in the district. We focus on the Family Hub areas servicing the most deprived communities, ensuring they have the additional support they need to improve access, support families, and improve the outcomes of the children attending. 

Flexible, effective work with parents and partnerships

These examples – and many more across the country – demonstrate that the Alliance has the skills to deliver flexible, effective work with parents, communities and multi-agency partnerships. We have the necessary skills to be a key partner to support the six 'Action Areas’ and the transformation and operations of Family Hubs in your Local Authority area. 

We have experience of multiple and successful partnerships using a joined-up approach that has achieved so many positive outcomes, for so many families. We are experienced and skilled in a coherent joined up Start for Life offer available for all families. 

Partners we regularly collaborate with include: local authorities, health visitors, midwives, portage, BSL, JCP, local domestic abuse services, translation services, housing, early help and social care, colleges and local training providers, police, NACRO, the national careers service, local volunteer organisations, CAMHS, GPs, early years settings and schools. 

Sustainability and Social Responsibility

In 2015, the United Nations agreed 17 Sustainable Development Goals. They offer a blueprint for creating a more sustainable and socially just world, by ensuring that ending poverty and other deprivations go hand-in-hand with improving health and education and reducing inequalities. Tackling climate change is a key part of this.  

The Early Years Alliance is fully committed to supporting the sustainability agenda in the early years and beyond, and we are currently developing a full range of training tools, publications and resources to support this which will be available shortly. 

We have already launched a new publication focused on weaving sustainability education into the areas of learning and development. Educating Social Responsibility explores different aspects of sustainability and social responsibility in the early years.   

In order to change perspectives and develop understanding in ourselves and the children, families and professional colleagues we work with, we will have a full launch of our offer in early 2022, which will include range of services to Local Authorities and others in developing their own sustainability agenda for children and families. 


Case study

A parent with low self-esteem and confidence was referred to us by an early help worker.

The parent had multiple partners supporting the family: early help, mental health team, police, social workers and domestic abuse support.

From conversations with partners and the parent, we supported the parent to attend a Grow Your Confidence course.  

The parent started well, but after a few weeks, did not want to attend anymore as she felt that others on the course were doing better than her.

We discussed solutions with the facilitator to allow the parent to continue on the course. The skills officer supported the parent to take functional skills qualifications, bite-size training and to complete a CV. The parent is now looking to volunteer at her child’s primary school to support her teaching assistant career. 

Stakeholder feedback: 

"In my role as Early Help Worker – I referred a young mum and with [The Alliance’s] support the mum is looking at attending college in September. The Alliance was also able to support her in accessing childcare for her baby – we worked together on joint TEAMS meetings with the young mum to support relationship building – the mum was then comfortable to have TEAMS meeting alone with the Skills Development Officer. 

"The parent was able to see that she could access education and improve her skills and being able to access childcare meant that this was not a barrier to gaining new skills and qualifications – it supported the young mum in feeling confident that in time she could confidently go on to employment."


Where next?

A Start for Life: The first 1,001 days 

Family Learning, parenting and school readiness 

Supporting our most vulnerable families 

Volunteering, co-production and parental engagement 

Our virtual offer


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