Fulfilling Lives: A Better Start is an important project being funded by the Big Lottery Fund, which will be investing £165m across a selected areas in England over 10 years to help improve services for babies, young children and families. The initiative aims to deliver a step-change in preventative approaches in pregnancy and the first three years of life to improve life chances of babies and young children. Key features include:

  • Investment of £30-£50 million in 3-5 areas, each with a population of approximately 50,000 for 8 to 10 years.
  • Each area runs a variety of programmes and initiatives to improve outcomes for children in social and emotional development; communication and language development; and nutrition.
  • There will be a ‘systems change’ in the way that local health, public services and the voluntary sector work together to put prevention in early life at the heart of service delivery and practice.

BMG were commissioned by The Social Research at Dartington to undertake the Area Wellbeing Survey of this project. Between August and December 2013 BMG undertook between 600 and 3000 interviews in each of 15 areas amounting to a total of 11,600 face to face interviews nationally with parents and carers of children aged 0-8. The survey gave local areas shortlisted for the fund access to robust and detailed data on children and families, helping them shape their proposals for Big Lottery funding, and informing their plans to continually improve outcomes for children and families.

Interviews were undertaken via a combined CAPI – CASI[1] approach due to the sensitivity of the topics which included family circumstances, health, and child social and emotional development (tailored to the age of child). Professional BMG interviewers led respondents through the guidance and computer script, allowing parents to complete short, discrete sections, themselves.

Interviews took between 30 and 45 minutes. BMG would like to thank the parents and carers involved for taking the time to provide information that will help shape services and outcomes for babies and children in the future. We would also like to thank the team at The Social Research Unit, Dartington for all their support throughout this work, in particular Tim Hobbs, Kate Tobin and Daniel Ellis.

Commenting on the Area Wellbeing Survey undertaken by BMG Research, Wellbeing Data lead and Head of Analytics at the SRU Tim Hobbs stated:

This was a remarkable and impressive piece of work – almost 12,000 interviews done in a very short time and to a really high quality. Dartington Social Research are incredibly impressed at the work done.

BMG would like to wish all areas shortlisted for Better Start Big Lottery Funding the very best of luck as they proceed into the assessment stage.

For more information on the A Better Start project, please visit http://betterstart.dartington.org.uk/data and  http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/betterstart

To know more about BMG’s work with children and families please contact Research Director Ceri Matthias on 0121 333 6006 or email ceri.matthias@bmgresearch.co.uk

[1] Computer Aided Personal Interviewing & Computer Aided Self-Interviewing

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