Cllr Stephen Cowan and Peter Wanless open the Fulham Central Children’s Centre

H&F partners with NSPCC to pioneer new approach to strengthen early years’ development

Hammersmith & Fulham Council has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring it is the best borough in the UK to raise children at the launch of an innovative new approach to early years’ development.

The council’s six Family Support centres have partnered with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), to become the first London borough to pioneer Look, Say, Sing, Play activity sessions. Those activities provide parents and carers with the tools and confidence to help develop their child’s brain functions at a crucial point.

Look, Say, Sing, Play activities have proven to deliver significant advancements in baby and young children’s language, social and cognitive capabilities. It helps children develop resilient brains and supports parents to practice simple and fun ways to advance their child’s early brain development. The science behind the approach indicates it is especially effective at avoiding and tackling childhood trauma.

Speaking at the launch on 2 May at Fulham Central Children’s Centre, Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, said:

“We are absolutely determined to give every single child in Hammersmith & Fulham the best possible start in life no matter what their background or challenges. We know that the foundations for a successful and confident adulthood are built during a child’s earliest years. So, we’re very grateful to the NSPCC and the wonderful team at our six Family Support children’s centres for pioneering this ground-breaking work which will significantly improve children’s life chances and help tackle childhood trauma.

“While other boroughs are closing children’s centres, we are committed to expanding and improving all of our 16 children’s centres. I am grateful to our residents for giving us the opportunity to do that.”

This year Hammersmith & Fulham will be investing an additional £3.3m in services for local children. It maintains 16 children’s centres in total and is building two new extra youth centres: one in the north and one south of the borough.

Wendy Dormer, the locality manager for Family Support, said:

“We are extremely lucky to deliver services within a local authority that values early years support, care and education for our children and a local authority that is innovative and committed to addressing early life trauma which impacts on all aspects of children’s health, emotional, social wellbeing and life chances”. She added: ”I truly believe that in a few years’ time we in Hammersmith and Fulham will be saying that this approach has helped us reduce crime rates, school exclusions, mental health admissions and obesity, all because we addressed early life trauma in our children’s centres.”

Peter Wanless, CEO at NSPCC, said; “We hope the Look, Say, Sing, Play campaign will resonate with carers, parents and expectant parents in the Hammersmith & Fulham area and provide some new and simple ideas to help them with vital early year engagement, because we know that building strong brain architecture builds resilience, confidence and positive connections between children and adults.”

The NSPCC has created a campaign video with tips for parents.

More details about Look, Say, Sing, Play campaign can also be found on the NSPCC’s website

To get involved with the campaign locally email peter.watt@family-support.org.uk

Launch of the Fulham Central Children’s Centre
L-R: Peter Wanless (NSPCC), Cllr Stephen Cowan, Wendy Dormer and Peter Watt

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