Blackpool Better Start hosted eighty delegates at their ‘Focus on Communities’ event yesterday at Winter Gardens. The two-day event put a spotlight on the critical role of communities in A Better Start and was attended by key members and volunteers who have played a vital role in the Community Development of the town.
The key theme of the event explored why communities matter and how they influence early child development outcomes. It was one of a series of national A Better Start events that have taken place across the five A Better Start sites, and was introduced by Blackpool Council’s Chief Executive, Neil Jacks.
During the conference, delegates visited Blackpool Park Rangers and Grange Park Children’s Centre for an introduction to the projects that are currently being run across Blackpool. These include the sensory room, a planting session with Park Rangers, Baby Rover and an activity session with a parent currently enrolled in the sports coaching Leadership Course.
The event attracted high-calibre speakers from leading universities across the UK, including: Professor Jacqueline Barnes – Institute for the Study of Children, Families & Social Issues; Birkbeck University London, Vidhya Alakeson – CEO Power to Change; Professor Paul Ramchandani – Professor of Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Imperial College London; Dr Crispin Day – Head of Centre for Parent and Child Support, King’s College, London; Helen Martin from University of Glasgow and Dr Joan Lombardi, a Senior Fellow at American Progress.
Commenting on the event, Merle Davies, Director of Blackpool Centre of Early Child Development, said: “The Focus on Communities Event has been a great success and we are delighted that Blackpool attracted such a high level of speakers from across the country. We explored themes around why communities matter and how they influence Early Child Development outcomes and shared practice and ideas. This learning will then be applied to how we can continue to empower parents and their communities to build a Better Start for Blackpool’s children.”