£3.3m fund to support babies from BAME and poor backgrounds

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has launched a multi-million-pound fund that it says will give mothers and babies from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) or poorer backgrounds the best chance at a healthy start in life.

Applications are open for a share of a £3.3 million fund to support community projects in England aimed at tackling obesity, reducing smoking and improving learning among mothers and young babies.

A DHSC spokesman said the new round of the Health and Wellbeing Fund has been launched with the theme of ‘starting well’ to improve outcomes for mothers and babies in deprived areas or from BAME backgrounds from preconception to up to two-and-a-half years of age.

The spokesman said this will pay for three-year projects run by voluntary and community social enterprises (VCSEs) to help level up deprived communities and give children the best possible start in life.

Public Health minister, Jo Churchill said: ‘Everyone deserves to live a long, healthy life, and we’re determined to reduce the inequality that some families face.

‘We’re committed to starting this work from birth, and the voluntary sector has an enormous role to play in its success.

‘This year we have launched the Health and Wellbeing Fund which is centred around starting well, to make sure mothers have the help they need to make the right decisions to support their health, and the health of their babies.’

The fund is open to applications from charity-run projects aimed at:

  • improving perinatal mental health
  • reducing the percentage of babies born with low birthweight
  • increasing babies being breastfed
  • obesity prevention and support
  • reducing smoking or encouraging smoke-free homes
  • improving learning, speech and language development
  • improving immunisation rates and reducing rates of preventable disease

It aims to tackle key public health issues from an early age such as obesity, which disproportionately affects people and children from an economically deprived area.

The £3.3 million is available to support the new schemes in 2020/21, with funding for schemes planned for a further two years up to 2022/23.

Applicants have until October 30 at midday to apply and the successful projects will be announced in December.

The Health and Wellbeing Fund is run by the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance.

The alliance was relaunched last week with charities being encouraged to join and ensure the lived experiences of the people they represent are reflected in the development of health policy.

Photo Credit: Pixabay


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