New South Leeds project gives babies '˜best start'

A new project which aims to give babies and young children the best start in life has been launched in south and east Leeds.


Mums-to-be and parents or carers of children aged two and under will soon be able to get top tips on topics such baby nutrition, bonding, sleeping and reading in a bid to boost the city’s future generations.

Funded by the South and East Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), through Leeds City Council public health, the ‘Best Start Peer Support Service’ will be offered through a course at children’s centres from June. It also aims to reduce isolation of new parents as well as train up volunteer peer supporters and paid ‘peer mentors’ to then pass on their new knowledge to others.

Leeds charity Touchstone will deliver the course together with Women’s Health Matters and Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust’s Early Start Service.

Jessica Parker, business development director at Touchstone, said: “It’s been identified that supporting the baby through the first few years is critical for outcomes in life such as nutrition and education.

“It’s about having early, extra intervention to really support mums, dads and grandparents to make really great decisions.”

She said it also aims to signpost parents to the many local baby groups and services on offer, adding: “Touchstone promotes equality across Leeds - that everyone has equal access and equal opportunities - so this is a chance to have not only an impact on parents 
but also on the future of the city in terms of the babies as well.”

The Best Start peer support service will also be delivered through developing links with Health Visiting services.