Better Start Bradford, a community partnership led by Bradford Trident, was awarded £49 million from the Big Lottery Fund to help parents give their children the best start in life. Check out our video to see why parents and children say this investment was needed.

Over ten years, a range of projects will engage about 20,000 children and their families, to improve social and emotional well-being, communication and language skills, and diet and nutrition. About 1,430 babies are born each year in the Better Start Bradford area: Bowling and Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton wards.

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The Better Start Bradford programme will work with families from pregnancy to children’s fourth birthday. It will engage partners and parents in developing and delivering projects to provide additional antenatal support, early years and peer support. Projects aim to support social and emotional development, enhance language and communication skills, and support new mums in breastfeeding and in learning about baby and toddler nutrition. Community initiatives will work to improve the local environment for children and families in the Better Start Bradford area.

A proposed 22 projects will include expanding the Family Nurse Partnership (a health visiting programme for first-time parents aged under 20) a home-based language development programme, storytelling groups, outdoor play and exercise activities, nutrition programmes, peer support and language development activities. Midwives’ caseloads will be reduced to enable them to provide more personalised care and home visits, and a befriender scheme will be introduced for expectant and new mothers affected by or at risk of postnatal depression. New parents will be introduced to local children’s centres and projects will work with parents to increase understanding of infant brain development.

Want to know more about Better Start Bradford?

Find out more, see our latest news and videos at – we are currently developing this into a more comprehensive site. You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep in touch with us.

Alternatively, contact the Better Start Bradford team on 01274 723146 or

You can also find out about the national programme Fulfilling Lives: A Better Start Programme.

Want to know if you are in the area Better Start Bradford is focused on, and which Children’s Centre area you live in? Have a look at this postcode checker.


Latest news

Project to help make Bradford a more imaginative place for children

Added: 28 September 2016

An innovative community programme supporting families to give children the best possible start in life has commissioned a project that will provide books to families to help develop literacy. Better Start Bradford, a Big Lottery-Funded programme covering three wards of Bradford (Little Horton, Bowling and Barkerend and Bradford Moor) has commissioned SureStart BHT to deliver ‘Better Start Imagine’, a project that will provide a book per month to every child in the area until their fourth birthday, to support literacy skills development.

Evaluation from previous delivery of a similar scheme in the Canterbury area of Bradford shows its effectiveness in encouraging increased reading and book-related activities by families.

Better Start Imagine is one of a broad range of projects Better Start Bradford will be commissioning, overseeing and evaluating, which engage families with children under four and during pregnancy. They aim to leave a lasting legacy for Bradford families, and share lessons with other areas across the country. Seven Better Start Bradford projects are already up and running (see below), with more than 20 due to be in place by mid next year.

Michaela Howell, programme director, Better Start Bradford, says: “We’re so excited to be moving forward with this project, which is a crucial contribution to Better Start Bradford achieving its aims. We want to make sure children in our part of Bradford and beyond have the best possible start in life, and a big part of that is enabling them to be imaginative and creative, and developing important literacy skills. For that to happen, we want to make sure families have books in their homes to enjoy with their children. We’re delighted to be commissioning Surestart BHT to deliver Better Start Imagine. We believe they are ideally placed to make sure this project is well-run, evidence based, and centred around local families.”

Rebecca Heald, language development programmes manager, SureStart BHT, says: “We’re dedicated to helping children to be imaginative and creative and develop important, life-long literacy skills. Previous evaluation suggests our scheme can make a big difference to children and families, so we’re looking forward to rolling it out in this part of Bradford, as part of the Better Start Bradford programme.”

Other Better Start Bradford projects already up and running:

  • Welcome to the World – friendly group antenatal sessions for pregnant mums and dads
  • Talking Together – supporting two-year-olds in communication and language development through in-home visits to encourage play and conversation over a six-week period
  • HENRY (health, exercise, nutrition for the really young) – an eight-week course supporting parents to develop healthy lifestyles
  • Baby Buddy app – free mobile phone app for parents and parents-to-be, with personalised content approved by doctors and midwives, from pregnancy to six months after birth
  • Personalised Midwifery Care Pilot – ensuring women see the same midwife, with longer appointments, and enhanced support and information
  • Family Nurse Partnership – a home visiting programme to support teenage first time parents and their children regarding health, wellbeing and self-sufficiency
  • Perinatal Support Programme, providing emotional support to families under pressure during pregnancy and the first year after birth.

Better Start Bradford shows its love for Bradford in World Record Attempt
Added: 15 September 2016





A record breaking attempt was made today as members of our team joined with people from across the Bradford district in a celebration of our friendly, diverse and extraordinary district. #LoveBradford did a fantastic job co-ordinating thousands of people in an attempt to create the ‘longest chain of people making heart shaped hand gestures’. The sun shone down on us as we crossed our arms to connect with the people next to us, making a string of hearts across City Park. There was a real energising festival atmosphere despite the heat. The hardest part was not fidgeting so that we could maintain the chain for one minute to secure the record. Thankfully 2,331 of us made enough hearts to beat the previous world record which stood at just under 2,300. We can now confidently say that Bradford is a record breaker and we are proud to have been a part of it.


Appeal for Community Stars working with families with young children
Added: 25 August 2016

Community Stars Awards




The search is on to find Bradford’s ‘Community Stars’ working with families with under-4s and pregnant parents. Better Start Bradford is teaming up with the Telegraph and Argus Community Stars Awards, to present the first ‘Early Years’ Award category, recognising volunteers who go the extra mile working with families in the Better Start Bradford area (Little Horton, Bowling and Barkerend and Bradford Moor wards).  Who will you nominate? 

Read our full press release here.


Calling all parents to be!
Added: 22 August 2016

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Would you like to learn more about life with a new baby? Our Welcome to the World groups allow pregnant mums and dads to explore the practicalities of becoming a parent, looking after a baby and yourself.  You can attend if you are in weeks 22-30 of pregnancy and are welcome to bring a partner, friend or relative.  It’s completely free and the groups meet once a week over eight weeks.  Find out more about the groups and the new dates for autumn/winter in our new Welcome to the World leaflet.


New ways to be healthy with HENRY
Added: 16 August 2016

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At HENRY Better Start Bradford, we have been busy developing different ways of working with parents to create healthy lifestyles for their children. Parents can attend the eight-week group programme being delivered in children’s centres across Bradford. New dates for Autumn are on the HENRY website. For parents who might need additional support or are unable to attend due to low confidence, access or timing, we have now launched a 1-to-1 programme and can conduct sessions at homes or community venues. If you are interested in volunteering to run focused activities, so we can get everyone talking about nutrition and leading active lifestyles, we would love to hear from you.  For information, contact

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