22 August 2014

Big funding boost announced for early age services in Vassall

Following lobbying by Lambeth Labour, the Big Lottery Fund has awarded a grant of £38 million to the Lambeth Early Action Partnership (LEAP) to help deliver on its mission to ensure all children in Lambeth, regardless of their background, have the best start in life. Vassall is one of the wards in Lambeth that will directly benefit from this funding.

As Lambeth Labour leader Lib Peck explained following the announcement:

“The aim of LEAP is to help ensure that all children in Lambeth, regardless of their background, from their very earliest years, have the best start in life. It aims to help improve the lives of more than 10,000 children over the course of the 10 year project.

It will use evidence-based interventions, with specific focus on three clear areas of child development: language and communication, social and emotional development and nutrition.

The work of LEAP will build on the huge progress made by Labour in terms of early intervention through the Sure Start programme, the value of which has been woefully disregarded by the current government.

However, LEAP will go even further. It will have more specific goals and will deliver more clearly measurable outcomes, such as improving breastfeeding rates, reducing childhood and maternal obesity and reducing domestic violence.

And, through linking up more tangibly with health partners, interventions can be targeted earlier and more effectively than ever.

Furthermore, the project recognises that the social, emotional, communication and language development of babies and children is affected not just by the wellbeing of their parents, but their social networks, and the strength of their communities and the wider environment too.

Intervening early to create resilient communities is a key part of our policy agenda in Lambeth. It is a fact that delivering effective early support negates the need for costly intervention later on. In our current climate of austerity, projects like LEAP simply make sense.”

Following the announcement, local Vassall councillors tabled a question at July’s council meeting asking for further details from Lambeth’s cabinet on what this will mean for the local area. The response from the cabinet member responsible for the project can be found here (question eight in the document).

Talking about the announcement, Vassall’s three Labour councillors – Jacqui Dyer, Paul Gadsby and Annie Gallop – said:

“This is a fantastic boost following lobbying by the Labour party for the local area at a time when government cuts are continuing to bite hard. We will be making sure that this valuable money is spent in the right way so that children in our ward get the best start in life. “