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Bringing together families, community groups and professionals in Southend

A Better Start Southend’s Festival of Conversations returned this year! We enjoyed a fun-filled programme of events in venues across the whole of Southend-on-Sea.

12th - 26th October 2022

What is the festival all about?

Raising Southend: A Festival of Conversations featured events and activities across Southend aimed at families who were expecting a baby or who had children under the age of four – as well as professionals, partners and organisations who support them.

Did you attend this years festival?

We would love to know what you thought by filling out a quick survey.

EVENTS

NEW early years roadshow 2

The second of four themed community roadshows welcome different community groups, and health and childcare professionals combined with interactive activities and child-friendly events. The roadshows are flagship Festival of Conversations events not to be missed.

Join A Better Start Southend (ABSS) to kickstart an inspiring and exciting Festival of Conversations, where you will meet community partners and healthcare professionals, offering practical support and services, while mixing with other families.

ABSS work closely with local parents to find out exactly what they want to know and how we can give you and your little one the best possible, happy and healthy start in life. Early years (up to 4 years old) and expectant parents who are at the beginning of their journey are all welcome!

Enjoy activities for the whole family, from toddler sports with our ABSS Creche Team, or an introduction to Football with Southend United Football Club.

Advice around mental health, nutrition and sign-posting from local organisations such as Little Heroes, Active Life, and ABSS Specialist Health Visitors are here for you.

This free Roadshow is open and accessible to all Southend Families with children under 4 years old, with accessible toilet and baby changing facilities and there is no need to pre-book!

Please note all Festival of Conversations may have a photographer and videographer present to capture the session. There will be an option to opt out of any media consent upon arrival at the session.

pexels-allan-mas-5623050

Our ‘Wellbeing through colour’ event will engage children and families in exploring basic emotions, through colourful, creative crafts and sensory experiences. This drop-in event will have free-flowing activities.

As you travel around the colour forest trail, you’ll meet our friendly emotion monsters. Each monster will have information about that emotion, and how we can healthily explore it. Alongside this will be a craft/activity to enjoy. Our yellow monster is bringing sun catchers to make and take home, our green monster watches over the sensory calm space and our orange monster will help you to make your own worry monster. The blue zone is a colour-based sensory space, with find-and-seek activities and our red cross monster has brought in his little calm-down home with surprising tricks inside!

Take pictures of our colourful spaces or go in search of the kindness corner for reading, lots of positive words and take away helpful information.

This session is open to all Southend families with children under 4 years old with no need to register, just come along and enjoy the fun!

Accessible parking, toilet and baby changing facilities are available.

Please note all Festival of Conversations may have a photographer and videographer present to capture the session. There will be an option to opt-out of any media consent upon arrival at the session

NEW early years roadshow 1

The first of four themed community roadshows welcome different community groups, and health and childcare professionals combined with interactive activities and child-friendly events. The roadshows are flagship Festival of Conversations events not to be missed.

Join A Better Start Southend (ABSS) to kickstart an inspiring and exciting Festival of Conversations, where you will meet community partners and healthcare professionals, offering practical support and services, while mixing with other families.

ABSS work closely with local parents to find out exactly what they want to know and how we can give you and your little one the best possible, happy and healthy start in life. Early years (up to 4 years old) and expectant parents who are at the beginning of their journey are all welcome!

Enjoy activities for the whole family, from toddler sports with our ABSS Creche Team, to Parent/Carer and Baby Yoga (pre-booking required under a separate listing), or an introduction to Football with Southend United Football Club.

Advice around mental health, nutrition and sign-posting from local organisations such as Little Heroes, Active Life, and ABSS Specialist Health Visitors are here for you.

This free Roadshow is open and accessible to all Southend Families with children under 4 years old, with accessible toilet and baby changing facilities and there is no need to pre-book!

Please note all Festival of Conversations may have a photographer and videographer present to capture the session. There will be an option to opt out of any media consent upon arrival at the session.

*A cash-only cafe operates at this venue*

beecroft gallery

*Registration required*

This session is organised in partnership with the University of Essex and aimed at those with a passion to build the community they live and work in and who have a desire to see the citizens take the lead, such as community organisations, community-minded individuals, Parent Champions, Community Builders and individuals passionate about pursuing positive social change.

We are inviting you to take part in an enjoyable, interactive session of sharing talents, skills, knowledge, and passions to be harnessed to grow your neighbourhood’s strengths with people’s health, well-being, and relationships at its heart.

The event will be based on the key principles of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) which recognises that within every community lies the answers to the challenges and opportunities that they face and that by starting with what is ‘strong not what is wrong’ and that we can support each other as citizens to develop long term responses.

The event will discuss the principles of ABCD, what it looks like in Southend and crucially give time for all those attending to share: what do you care about enough to act upon? What can you offer to address what it is that you care about? What would take for you to work with others who share your vision? Pre-registration required.

umbilical chords 2

*Registration required for this event*

This session for the whole family focuses on pregnancy and early years health alongside arts, creativity and music. Come along for screen printing and music making with other families and community peers.

A Better Start Southend encourages you to join us with the team at YMCA Southend to come along, find support, link with others and try out creative activities to support your journey. We know how vital sharing resources and accessing health professionals are at this sensitive stage. The Bump to Breast team will be on hand for additional learning and advice, allowing you to give your little one, the best possible healthy and happy start in life. This group-based session includes information for those who wish to breastfeed, from antenatal to post-natal.

While you are with us, you and your child, or expectant partner can join in the fun with instruments on hand from YMCA Southend and a special sing-along with the Umbilical Chords project! Copies of the Breastfeeding in Southend Picture Book as well as items that families have printed themselves are available to take home.

This session is open to all Southend families with children under 4 years old. Please pre-register, limited spaces are available. Accessible parking, toilet and baby changing facilities are available. If you can no longer attend once you’ve registered you will be able to cancel your place through your registration confirmation email, to release your place to someone on the waiting list.

Please note all Festival of Conversations may have a photographer and videographer present to capture the session. There will be an option to opt-out of any media consent upon arrival at the session

NEW preg roadshow

The third of four themed community roadshows welcome different community groups, and health and childcare professionals combined with interactive activities and child-friendly events. The roadshows are flagship Festival of Conversations events not to be missed.

Join A Better Start Southend (ABSS) and meet community partners, and pregnancy and healthcare professionals, offering practical support and services while mixing with other families.

ABSS work closely with local parents to find out exactly what they want to know and how we can give you and your little one the best possible, happy and healthy start in life. Early years (up to 4 years old) and expectant parents who are at the beginning of their journey are all welcome!

Discover information from local experts in their field including doctors, pharmacists, dentists, health visitors and midwives along with specialist support groups such as Chaos & Calm and Trust Links.

Excitingly, we’ll welcome Little City, a mobile role-play experience for toddlers, to keep walking-age children entertained, while the ABSS creche team will create a sensory and play zone for younger children to enjoy.

Make the most of the expertise of professionals in attendance, providing a wealth of knowledge for the health and well-being of you and your baby. Experts in their field from across Southend will come together in one space to answer your questions.

Accessible parking nearby, accessible toilet and baby changing facilities are available. This event is open to all Southend families with children under 4 years old. Pre-booking is not required – turn up and enjoy the fun.

Please note all Festival of Conversations may have a photographer and videographer present to capture the session. There will be an option to opt out of any media consent upon arrival at the session.

NEW southend fire roadshow

A Better Start Southend (ABSS) has partnered with Southend Fire Station for the fourth and final roadshow in the series, welcoming different community groups, and safety and skilled professionals combined with interactive activities and child-friendly events. The roadshows are flagship Festival of Conversations events not to be missed.

Meet community partners and local, unsung heroes within our community while gaining helpful advice for the safety of your community, home and family.

ABSS work closely with local parents to find out exactly what they want to know and how we can give you and your little one the best possible, happy and healthy start in life. Early years (up to 4 years old) and expectant parents who are at the beginning of their journey are all welcome!

Multiple organisations will attend these sessions, providing a diverse hub of conversation and communication. Parents and carers, we encourage you to seek support, meet with professionals, ask questions and give feedback. It is your feedback that helps us find the right support for your family and provide the services that work for you. We are excited to bring you a range of activities for your little ones, so you are free to mix and mingle with carers and parents and take away helpful advice and reading materials. The focus here is on community skills and community and home safety.

Accessible parking nearby, accessible toilet and baby changing facilities are available. This event is open to all Southend families with children under 4 years old. Pre-booking is not required – turn up and enjoy the fun.

Please note all Festival of Conversations may have a photographer and videographer present to capture the session. There will be an option to opt out of any media consent upon arrival at the session

Storysacks 2 (1)

Storytime and Craft Activity with Southend Storysacks. 

An interactive storytelling and craft session for families with 0-4s who access the services of ‘Welcome to the UK’.

Enjoy a jungle-themed story and craft activity and find out what your local library service has to offer.  Every child attending will receive a free goody bag to take home.

Places are limited so please email storysacks@savs-southend.co.uk to book your child’s place (one place per child).  If you are unable to attend once booked, please just let us know via the same email address so your place may be offered to another child.

Please note all Festival of Conversations may have a photographer and videographer present to capture the session. There will be an option to opt out of any media consent upon arrival at the session.

Themes of the festival

 Environment & Sustainability

Here we facilitate conversations on sustainability and our environment, and encourage developing an appreciation for nature and the outdoors, while introducing awareness of these subjects to your children from a young age.

 Early Years Activity & Wellbeing

Activity and Wellbeing events will focus on developing and maintaining an active lifestyle with activities for both you and your children to enjoy.

 Mental Health & Wellbeing

These events provide you with tools and skills to help sustain a lifestyle that promotes positive mental health and wellbeing.

 Food, Diet & Nutrition

Our food, diet and nutrition events are designed to equip you with information and ideas that help maintain a balanced and nutritious diet for your whole family.

 Community, Skills & Home Safety

Celebrating our diverse community in Southend City, enabling you to develop knowledge and skills, and gain up-to-date information to maintain a safe environment for your family.

 Storytelling & Reading

Our storytelling and reading sessions allow you and your children to step into the wonderful world of make-believe. Through these events, we will demonstrate the importance of reading and storytelling in children’s communication, creativity and language skills while creating family bonding moments.

 Arts & Creativity

Art and Creativity events give you a space and time to enjoy music, art and interactive, creative activities that facilitate your children’s development and promote mental wellbeing.

 Special Educational Needs & Disability

SEND events will provide a safe and positive environment for SEND families while sharing information and introducing families to long-lasting support networks.

 Pregnancy & Early Years Health

We will hold roadshows and information events for everything to do with pregnancy and raising your little one: come along and learn more about giving your baby the best start in life.

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FAQs

We are accepting feedback surveys on the festival up until 11 November 2022. You can access the survey at: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DGJQYV9  

We will add some photo highlights to the website in due course and look out for Facebook photo galleries of some of the events.

Festival of Conversations 2022 was a two-week long fringe-style festival with over 35 events for pre-school babies and children and their families, professionals, community groups and voluntary organisations working in Southend. It took place from 12 – 26 October.

For families and expectant parents, the festival enabled attendees to discover the amazing support network of services open to them and their families in Southend. For professionals, the festival created networking opportunities with the presence of service providers, health experts and community leaders.

Different events were aimed at different groups. Some events were aimed at expectant parents, or parents and families with children aged 0-4 years, some were just for parents and some were for professionals, practitioners and community organisations that support families. 

Yes! All Festival of Conversations events were free.

Some events require booking, and you will be able to do this once the programme of events is available. Please only book if you are sure you can attend. We will have a short waiting list for some events.

Yes. It was not necessary to have lived in an ABSS ward to come to our festival.

We worked with event hosts to ensure the events and venues used were inclusive and accessible to all. If there were any accessibility restrictions, this would have been listed on the individual events page.

To Find Out More
About A Better Start Southend
VISIT WEBSITE
Additional information
A Better Start Southend (ABSS) is a 10-year National Lottery Community Fund programme seeking to ensure that children in Southend have the best start in life. Working with families and children, from pre-birth to the 4th birthday, and focussing on six wards in the Borough in which a larger number of families are considered to be vulnerable to social and economic disadvantage, the programme designs and delivers a range of projects and programmes based upon 5 key themes:

Social and Emotional Development | Diet and Nutrition | Speech and Language Development
System Change | Community Resilience

Sign up to our newsletter
and receive announcements about the festival straight to your inbox.

You can change or withdraw your consent at any time. For more information about how we process your data or how you can amend your consent please read our Privacy Notice for these details.