Implementing Evidence Based Interventions

By Alexis Leeks

Implementing Evidence Based Interventions: Workshops

Workshop Title:  Building Community Resilience: Diet and Nutrition

Presenters:   Sharon Mather and Dr Rachel Tyrrell-Smith, Centre for Early Child Development


This workshop will focus on how our community action projects are addressing the diet and nutrition strand of Better Start. We will talk about the evidence for community involvement, what the projects entail and how the community are a driving force in their implementation, and how these local actions feed into the bigger picture of meeting the diet and nutrition objectives. Projects include:

  • Parks and open spaces development including community involvement in the creation of the park spaces they want for their young children with the long term view of making parks more accessible to our families
  • The introduction of an Early Years Park Ranger Service to engage families with young children in using parks for physical activity and wider play and exploration
  • Sports Leadership training in partnership with Sport Blackpool to increase capacity to deliver Early Movers activity sessions by training parents as sports coaches
  • Early Years Fit2Go, an intervention focusing on changing diet and physical activity behaviours in collaboration with Blackpool Football Club Community Trust
  • Community Voice parents group, a representative voice of the needs of local families, a driving force for action helping parents to raise healthy and happy children


These will be uploaded shortly.

Workshop Title:  Blackpool’s Speech and Language Review

Presenter:   Sarah Lambert, Centre for Early Child Development


As part of the Better Start transformation of services for 0-3s, the Centre for Early Child Development (CECD) along with Blackpool Council’s Commissioning Team undertook an in-depth review of Speech and Language services across Blackpool for this age group. A key outcome for Blackpool Better Start (BS) is to improve children’s ‘School Readiness’ and poor language and communication skills are hindering children in this area. The review made use of externally commissioned expertise to lead the review and to work alongside the Council commissioning team. This session will provide an overview of the process and proposed new services.


Sarah started her career as a nursery teacher and became the head of a nursery school prior to undertaking early years SEND Advisory work.  She became Senior Manager for Early Years and Family Support in Blackpool where she had responsibility for all early years and childcare across all sectors, Children’s Centres, Family Learning, Parenting and Young Carers. During this time she lead on and managed a number of innovative pilots in early years and Children’s Centres.  She lead on the Blackpool’s Better Start bid which secured £45 Million for services from conception to three year olds and is now developing a number of programmes and initiatives for this project including working alongside Commissioning to review the speech and language provision for early years in Blackpool. Sarah is an active member of the Early Years Stakeholder Group for the national strategic Children’s Partnership.

Workshop Title:  Healthy Child Programme (HCP) - Perinatal Mental Health (PMH), Baby Steps, Family Nurse Partnership (FNP)

Presenters:   Dr Karen Bateson, NSPCC , Deborah O’Dea and Karen Corbishley, Centre for Early Child Development


Healthy Child Programme: We will give an overview of what the HCP is and how it currently looks like in Blackpool using visual aids such as laminated schedule of the current programme. The Department of Health has commissioned Public Health England (PHE) to carry out a review into the future of health visitor family checks beyond March 2017, when legislation requiring them to be carried out on a mandatory basis expires.

We will discuss how in depth consultative work is being undertaken to help local partnerships in their planning and delivery of an Enhanced Healthy Child Programme and will also look at what local changes may be needed to maximise the delivery of the Enhanced Healthy Child Programme and integrate with the A Better Start outcomes.

Perinatal Mental Health: We will give an overview of what PMH is and discuss maternal mental health data from the local area (preferably in the 7 BS wards) and compare with national figures.

We will look at the application of new information about neurological development and child development within the local context and although we are still in the early days of development we will discuss how all local partnerships can be involved in the shaping of PMH services and to start thinking about having a ‘keeping the baby in mind’ concept in Blackpool.

Family Nurse Partnership: Definition of FNP programme and local data. Discuss the results of the recent FNP Randomised Control Test (RCT) and the article in the Lancet.  Consider what the National FNP Unit have taken from the RCT and how they are to co-design and rapidly test a number of more complex innovations over the next 18 months through the ADAPT (Accelerated Design and Programme Testing) programme within 11 Local Authority (LA) sites. Identification of their areas of focus for their clinical adaptations of FNP (Blackpool - breastfeeding) and potential clinical changes and personalisation/system changes of FNP will be discussed.

Baby Steps: We will give an overview of the development and design of the original Baby Steps programme , and the theoretical underpinnings upon which it is based.  We will describe the Baby Steps target audience, the piloting process and the evaluation outcomes.  Describe the social franchising model and its advantages.  We’ll talk about the universal pilot in Blackpool, including how Baby Steps has been adapted to suit the local context, and provide some initial Blackpool data.


These biographies will follow shortly.

Workshop Title:  The Brain Game

Presenters:   Annette Algie and Sarah Gorst, Centre for Early Child Development


Developed by Judy Cameron, PhD (Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh) the Brain Game is an interactive workshop that demonstrates the significance of early childhood experiences in the development of brain architecture and lifelong health.


These biographies will follow shortly.

Workshop Title:  Survivor Mums Companion and Trauma Informed Care

Presenters:   Julia Seng, PhD, University of Michigan and Emma Lowrie, Centre for Early Child Development


The “Survivor Mums’ Companion” (SMC) is a targeted trauma-specific intervention developed by two midwives to address—in tandem—the trauma-related and maternal development needs of pregnant women.  It aims to improve maternal PTSD from maltreatment that explicitly focuses on breaking the cycles of abuse and vulnerability.

The SMC is a psycho-education program delivered by nurses, social workers, or health visitors.  Currently the Centre for Early Child Development is using a hybrid study design to evaluate both the social and emotional well-being outcomes of the women and the nuts and bolts of implementing the program in the UK.  We are finishing the preliminary phases of the research.

The next phases involve working with stakeholders in Blackpool so the SMC takes place health and social care system that is “trauma-informed”.  This workshop will provide an overview of the SMC, Blackpool pilot results so far, and an introduction to what it means to provide Trauma Informed Care.


Julia Seng is a nurse-midwife and Professor of Nursing, Obstetrics, and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan.  Her program of research focuses on the effects of PTSD on perinatal, mental health, and early parenting outcomes.  Her studies range from large clinical projects to narrative and intervention-development studies.  With her collaborator, Mickey Sperlich, she developed a trauma-specific pregnancy intervention for women with a history of childhood maltreatment called the Survivor Moms’ Companion (“Mums” in the UK!)  She is working with A Better Start’s Centre for Early Childhood Development to study how the SMC works in Blackpool.

Emma Lowrie is a research psychologist and one of CECD’s Evaluation Officers. Her previous research has focused upon coping theory and its role in belief systems. She has spoken about this subject locally and internationally. She is currently based at the University of Central Lancashire, teaching undergraduate psychology and at Blackpool Better Start’s Centre for Early Child Development. Her main role is evaluating targeted interventions to reduce the prevalence of child abuse and neglect through various programmes such as SafeCare, Video Interaction Guidance, Parents under Pressure and Survivor Mums.

Workshop Title:  Parents Under Pressure and Adverse Childhood Experiences

Presenter:   Clare Law, Centre for Early Child Development


Parents Under Pressure is an intervention for parents who are on a drug or alcohol treatment programme who are facing multiple adversities which are impacting upon family functioning. The programme is strengths based in its’ approach and utilises psychological principles relating to parenting, child behaviour and parent emotional regulation.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) were the subject of a ground-breaking public health study in America in 1998 which found that there is a strong correlation between experiences in early childhood and future outcomes.  Since then, there has been a growing body of evidence which has supported this theory that adverse childhood experiences have a direct impact upon later life including life expectancy, chronic disease, mental health and substance misuse.

This workshop will explore some of this research, our local context in Blackpool, and share details of the planned implementation of an ACEs pilot within Children’s Social Care.


This biography will follow shortly.

Workshop Title: Video Interaction Guidance and SafeCare

Presenters:  Dr Angela Latham and Martin Murphy, Centre for Early Child Development


Video Interactive Guidance (VIG) in Blackpool is an intervention through which a practitioner aims to enhance communication within relationships. It works by engaging clients actively in a process of change towards realising their own hopes for a better future in their relationships with others who are important to them. Guiders are themselves guided by the values and beliefs around respect and empowerment, including a belief that people in troubled situations do want to change, a respect for what clients are managing to achieve in their current difficulties, and a conviction that the power and responsibility for change resides within clients and their situations.

Nine months in to the VIG project in Blackpool, this workshop aims to showcase some of the work completed to date and to introduce participants to the key principles of VIG.  It will show how the intervention works to support families in difficult circumstances to effect change.

SafeCare is an established, evidence-based programme offering support and training to encourage, inform and promote improved parenting. Parents are supported by giving them practical, one-to-one advice that will help them take care of their child’s basic needs.

This workshop will outline the programme and underpinning research and provide an update on Blackpool service delivery using case examples to explore the challenges and desired outcomes.


Dr Angela Latham is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist based in Cheshire.  She has extensive experience working in CAMHS and in early years in the Manchester area.  Angela is an accredited VIG (Video Interaction Guidance) supervisor and offers training and supervision in VIG.  Angela is also an Incredible Years Mentor in the preschool basic and school age programmes and is an accredited facilitator in the Family Partnership Programme.

Angela has used VIG in her practice for many years and is passionate about the use of video to enable families to see what works for them and what activates them to make effective changes.  She has a particular interest in supporting families in the early years and working with parental mental health; intervening in the early years of a child’s life where the evidence shows long-term benefits and high cost savings.

Martin Murphy’s biography will be uploaded shortly.

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