Mums in Wirral are set to benefit from the national new Health and Wellbeing Fund as a project in the borough is one of 19 around the country to help to promote nutrition, learning, language development and mental health during pregnancy and post-birth.
The £7.6 million national fund supports the focus on communities that have been ‘left behind’ and reduce health inequalities.
The Health and Wellbeing Fund, based on the theme of ‘starting well’, will help charities and voluntary groups to run and expand projects to boost mental health for new and expectant mums, improve the development of babies and children and give people the best chance for a healthy start by preventing obesity and diabetes.
Wirral-based Koala North West, working with The Foundation Years Trust, will deliver services targeted at 0-2 year olds until March 2023. Koala’s current services will expand to targets Wirral’s most deprived wards and provide support to improve wellbeing, reduce isolation and support children to thrive.
Bev Morgan, CEO of Koala North West, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this grant. After 21 years of providing support for Wirral families, this gives us the opportunity to do some real targeted work with families and their children aged 0-2 years. We will be working in partnership with The Foundation Years Trust to deliver a range of services for Wirral families during their children's first 1001 critical days.
“Our objective is expansion of our services for 0-2’s, whilst bringing interventions together under the umbrella of Wirral’s First 1001 Days offer, in collaboration with families, voluntary organisations, nurseries, Early Help/Early Childhood Services, Health and Midwifery. The service redesign will strengthen collective action to improve outcomes for Wirral’s children.”
The Health and Wellbeing Fund is part of a programme of government investment in the voluntary sector to promote health equalities and reduce health inequalities across the country.
Councillor Ian Lewis added: “Bev Morgan and the team at Koala NW have done a great job in making sure that many people in Wirral will benefit from this national initiative. I’m really pleased that families in Wallasey will also be included.
"The voluntary sector does great work to support families and with this news, it means that they’ll get some extra help with the really important early years.”
Public Health Minister, Jo Churchill said: “Everyone deserves to live a long, healthy life and the perfect time to start to achieve it is in the beginning. Vital support for improving mental health of mothers, nutrition of babies and the learning and development of children in early years will help ensure the best possible start by reducing the inequality that some face.
“We have had some fantastic, innovative applications for the Health and Wellbeing Fund. I’m looking forward to seeing these winning projects in action, making real, tangible improvements to the lives and health of families.”