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Completed 2020

Fulfilling Lives: A Better Start

Professor Jane Barlow1 (Director), Professor Geoff Lindsay2 (Deputy Director), Professor Stavros Petrou1, Professor Kathy Silva3, Professor Carolyn Summerbell4, Professor Alistair Leyland5, Professor Vivette Glover6, Professor Debra Bick7, Dr Sandra Mathers3, Sarah Knibbs8, Dr Susan Purdon9, Caroline Bryson9.
1Warwick Medical School, 2CEDAR, 3University of Oxford, 4University of Durham, 5University of Glasgow, 6Imperial College, 7Kings College London, 8Ipsos MORI, 9BPSR.

A research team from the University of Warwick are leading a large, multidisciplinary consortium to evaluate a 10 year study designed to improve the life chances of children 0-3: Fulfilling Lives: A Better Start.

The Big Lottery Fund is investing £215 million over 10 years in five areas: Blackpool, Bradford, Lambeth, Nottingham, and Southend.

Local consortia of voluntary and community sector organisations, health services and local authorities will provide programmes and initiatives designed to improve the outcomes for children in three key areas of development:

  • Social and emotional development
  • Communication and language development
  • Nutrition

A Better Start is a ground-breaking ten year test and learn initiative to see what methods are the best for laying the foundations for 0-3 year olds to improve their future health, social and educational outcomes and put evidence based early intervention and prevention at the centre of service delivery and practice.

The Warwick Consortium is led by Professor Jane Barlow, Warwick Medical School (WMS, Director) with Professor Geoff Lindsay, Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research (CEDAR, Deputy Director) and Professor Stavros Petrou (WMS) from the University of Warwick, and includes Ipsos MORI and Bryson Purdon Social Research (BPSR), along with researchers from several other universities:

  • Professor Kathy Sylva and Dr Sandra Mathers (Oxford)
  • Professor Debra Bick (Kings College, London)
  • Professor Carolyn Summerbell (Durham)
  • Professor Vivette Glover (Imperial College)
  • Professor Alastair Leyland (Glasgow)

The CEDAR team has included Mrs Mairi Ann Cullen and Dr Stephen Cullen.

CEDAR is undertaking the Implementation Evaluation. We are examining how the consortia in the five areas implement early intervention programmes and system change. Over the first two years we are working with sites to investigate the set-up phase for A Better Start. In addition, we are working with sites as they confirm their various intervention programmes and the measures needed by each site to monitor these.

The second strand is an Impact Study. This comprises large scale surveys of mothers in the five areas and comparison areas to explore the effects of the interventions.

A third strand, Learning and Dissemination led by Ecorys, will work with the research teams, the Big Lottery Fund and the five consortia: to ensure that the results lead to learning across the five areas, to disseminate the learning from the research both nationally and internationally.