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Our vision

Our vision is that children have a healthy, happy start in life to flourish throughout childhood and beyond

Our mission

Our mission is to support families to provide a healthy, happy start for their children and lay the foundations for a brighter future

Our beliefs

We recognise that a healthy start is not purely a matter of individual choice; family, cultural and environmental influences also play a major role. To achieve our mission we will promote and support healthier lifestyles and environments at all levels – individual, community and population. We believe that:

  • A healthy start is a whole family affair. Babies and young children are dependent on the choices their parents make for them and will learn from parental modelling, so we need to work with the whole family.

  • A healthy family means the best start for babies and young children in the widest  possible sense. Parenting, emotional wellbeing and opportunities to learn and grow through active play – as well as a healthy lifestyle habits – are all part of enabling young children to flourish.

  • Parents want to do their best for their children. Help and support should build on this desire, working in partnership with parents to help them give their children a great start.

  • Praise and encouragement are more effective than blame and judgement. Parents need to be valued for who they are and what they can do.

  • We need to start where parents are. Families face different challenges and some are more ready to make changes than others. Those in a helping role are more effective when they are able to get alongside families, listen to what they have to say and gain an understanding of their strengths, needs, challenges and priorities.

  • The messenger is just as important as the message. Helping families adopt a healthier lifestyle requires more than dietary advice and information. Sensitive, strengths-based and solution-focused support, which draws on evidence-based partnership and motivational models of helping, is more effective in enabling changes in lifestyle behaviour and habits.

  • We need to prioritise babies and young children. Habits are established very early in life and it is easier to form healthy habits right from the start than it is to break less healthy ones later. For example, only 1 in 20 children who start school obese will be a healthy weight when they leave primary school.

  • Practitioners have more credibility when they model a healthy lifestyle. Practitioners’ self-awareness of their own lifestyle and commitment to making positive changes in their own lives are key elements in providing effective support.

  • We need to know what works and to provide the most effective interventions we can. Poor mental health, oral health and unhealthy weight Obesity have been described as ticking timebombs, with potentially devastating consequences for individuals, society and health services. The causes are complex; reducing and preventing rates of these conditions requires a joined-up approach informed by up-to-date research evidence.

boy in stripey top
Why a healthy start matters

The foundations for virtually every aspect of human development are laid in early childhood