Following government guidance preventing non-essential travel and promoting social distancing, A Better Start Southend has found new and innovative ways for our portfolio of over fifteen services to deliver, including Zoom (tele-conferencing service), social media and Youtube.

As an example, the programme’s pioneering breastfeeding support groups ‘Bump to Breast’ – delivered by Southend YMCA – which offers face-to-face, group-based support to families choosing to breastfeed, are now offering their invaluable assistance to new mums via the Facebook Live tool. This allows parents engaged to ask questions and receive answers in real time, and can be viewed retrospectively. A recent live broadcast session on the benefits of breastmilk led by the Southend YMCA was viewed by over 600 parents.

A Better Start Southend’s Perinatal Mental Health service which helps new parents adjust emotionally to parenthood, which is run by a team of Specialist Health Visitors employed by the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT), is now also offering support to families remotely, either via Skype, Facetime or a phone call.

Alongside these efforts, we are also offering some fun, playful activities across their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, which can be done with very young children at home to help them learn as they play. Our friendly mascot, Pip, also has a handy guide to COVID-19, which can help you speak to your little ones about the virus.

Jeff Banks, the Director of A Better Start Southend says: “All of the A Better Start Partners including health, education and social care agencies across the Borough are firmly committed to continuing support for parents at this time of high anxiety, and our fantastic Delivery Partners have all found imaginative new ways to continue supporting vulnerable families. We know many parents will be anxious and in some instances struggling, and we want to send out a very clear message, we are still available to offer support”.

Parents can find out more information about Coronavirus guidance, and how it is impacting the A Better Start Southend service on our Coronavirus webpage here, where there is also detailed information about the status of all the services we offer.


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