Consulting firm Ecorys has been selected to assist in the evaluation of Big Lottery Fund’s A Better Start initiative, set up to improve the life chances of thousands babies in the UK. The firm will develop a 10 year programme that will ensure that lessons learned are used effectively.
Fulfilling Lives: A Better Start
The ‘Fulfilling Lives: A Better Start’ initiative has been set up by the Big Lottery Fund* to improve the life chances of over 60,000 babies and young children aged between 0 and 3 years in the UK. The initiative does so by “achieving a step change in preventative approaches in pregnancy and the first three years of life, based on the best available science on what works.” In June 2014, the Big Lottery Fund selected five partnerships in Nottingham, Southend-on-Sea, Lambeth, Blackpool and Bradford that each are awarded up to £50 million funding over ten years to support thousands of parents in giving their children the best start in life. The grants are to be used to redesign local services while focussing on three key areas: social and emotional development, nutrition and communication and language development.
Ecorys has been selected to assist in the national evaluation of the initiative, which will be delivered by The Warwick Consortium**. The consulting firm has been charged with the “learning and dissemination work stream” and will develop a 10 year programme of activities that ensures that the outcomes and lessons from the evaluation are promoted and shared amongst interested stakeholders. The programme will include capacity building for local partnerships, national conferences, workshops and policy round table sessions, as well as website and communications activities.
* The Big Lottery Fund is a UK non-departmental public body that is responsible for distributing funds raised by the National Lottery for good causes. The money raised goes to projects that help communities and the lives of people by improving health, education and the environment.
** The Warwick Consortium is led by researchers from the University of Warwick and also includes researchers from Oxford University, Kings College, Durham University, Imperial College and Glasgow University.