As lockdown eases, and many businesses and organisations begin to open again across Southend and the UK, here at A Better Start Southend, we are beginning our own Recovery and Renewal stage as we move into the next phase of the pandemic. The six main areas of work we are focussing on during this time are:

  • Research and Engagement
  • Partnerships
  • Established Programmes
  • Pipeline Programmes
  • Legacy Planning
  • ABSS Programme Management Office

Moving through these key areas, our priority, at all times, will be to ensure we are taking the necessary steps to keep families, staff and partners safe.

We will continue to provide updates about this phase of work in the coming months, but if you have any questions, please email

In the meantime, many of our services are still delivering, but in a more digital way. Take a look at the list of our services that are accessible and how to get in touch:

Social and Emotional

  • Specialist Health Visitors for Perinatal Mental Health: addressing the mental health needs of
  • women and their families in adjusting to life with a new-born (Ros – /01702 220 184 / Hilary –
  • Family Nurse Partnership: a family nurse works with first time mothers under the age of 21 from early pregnancy until the baby is 2 years old, to build a therapeutic and supportive relationship with the family (Tracey Scanlon – / Claire Penn –
  • Family Support Workers for Social Communication Needs: a service supporting families with a child currently on the Multidisciplinary Assessment waiting list, with concerns around development in communication, interaction and imaginary play (Helen Smith-Vicary – /01702215991 / 07918223834)
  • Volunteer Home Visiting Service: works alongside families to build their confidence and self-esteem around parenting (Call the team on 01245 847410)
  • Preparation for Parenthood: supporting parents in the antenatal period, helping them prepare for life with a new-born, giving parenting skills and confidence a boost (Call Faye on 07593 441024)

Diet and Nutrition

  • Bump to Breast – Breastfeeding Group Support: weekly sessions in settings across Southend to provide support for mothers when breastfeeding (Eleanor King – / Alicja Pachalko –
  • 1 to 1 Breastfeeding Support: Provided on the maternity ward, in the mother’s home and in a Children’s Centre, by an Infant Feeding Support Worker. Currently delivered in Kursaal, Shoebury and West Shoebury (Julie Macdonald – / 07824523506)
  • HENRY Healthy Families: a course supporting families in making healthy food and lifestyle choices, as well as providing a happy and healthy environment for the whole family (Patrizia Pessenda-Garcia – / 07519 109875)
  • Starting Solids: short workshops to support families in introducing healthy solid foods to their baby at six months old (Call Family Action on 01702 220810)
  • Food 4 Life: our allotment at Friars Children’s Centre in Shoeburyness provides a space for families to learn more about growing their own fruits and vegetables (Call Family Action on 01702 220810)

Communication and Language

  • Lets Talk: a speech and language therapy-led service for children aged 0-4, to support their communication and language (Joanne Page – 01702 578607 / 07814377561)
  • Talking Transitions: childcare and schools working together to support children’s transition at this important stage, focusing on speech and language development ( /

Co-production and Engagement

  • Co-production and Engagement: enabling Southend parents to be involved in designing services and in decision making, enabling them to bring systematic change that improves the lives of families (
  • Work Skills: a selection of courses and workshops focussing on skills, enterprise and employment (Amir Girnary – Lucie Babbington – / 07787 273332)

Current government guidance

In June, we saw some new government guidance released around Coronavirus, which allowed some members of our community to safely go back to work, as well as visit extended families, and spend more time outside in public spaces. As local services and facilities begin to re-open across Southend and the rest of England, it is important to remember that social distancing and washing your hands is still key in controlling the virus, and if you have been in contact with anyone with the virus, or you begin to display symptoms, you must self-isolate for 14 days. You can find out more from the NHS website about symptoms, and what to do if you have Coronavirus here.

The NHS has begun to adopt the new ‘Test and Trace’ strategy, and it will become a normal part of everyday life. The initiative allows an individual displaying symptoms of COVID-19 to order a test from the NHS, and if they test positive for the virus, anyone they have had contact with will be notified. This approach is being adopted across the UK, and our partners at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council have worked closely with Essex County Council to get this up and running. The Essex and Southend contact tracing service are now responsible for local Track and Trace efforts.

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