Support from the Start Report 2014- 2015

Support from the Start report 2014 – 2015SftS report 2014 15

Support from the Start Mission Statement

Our aim is to work within the East Lothian community  planning framework to provide a joined up, and  local, response to inequalities in the early years of life, pre birth – eight.

Support from the  Start (SFTS) uses the National Early Years Collaborative  approach, to bring services,       parents/carers  and communities together to improve outcomes for children in their early years . We work on agreed outcomes and key change areas. SFTS ‘s particular contribution is to bring a local and community perspective to early years service delivery and             improvements .


Tots Tunes & Tales

“TOTS, TUNES AND TALES”    –    Training Opportunity

1.30pm – 3.30pm Friday 15th November 2013 in the Buffet Room Townhouse Haddington

“Tots, Tunes and Tales” was an innovative, parent led and developed project for parents and their children (0-3 years) created at Whitecraig Community Centre last summer. The project’s aim was to communicate the positive benefits of shared reading and music for children in their early years through storytelling, songs, rhymes, music games and activities.

The project was enthusiastically received by parents and children alike, and has led to the development of a “Tots, Tunes and Tales” resource pack in order to share the material and general approach developed in the pilot with other practitioners.

In this session, Maureen Black and David Trouton will introduce the pack and demonstrate the resource material, as well as linking the activities to current evidence-based research into the significance of music and stories in early years development.

Flyer 131115 (2)


Men in Sheds

Here’s a great community project for retired men in East Lothian. Men in Sheds is aiming to set up a community workshed with tool for retired men to use and to be involved in community projects. It’s all kicking off at a meeting in Macmerry Village Hall on Wednesday 10 April at 1.30pm. Let’s tell our granddads all about it.

LicketyLeap – Latest statistics and evaluation results for East Lothian

LicketyLeap is Licketyspit’s ground-breaking immersive (participative) theatre project for three to five year olds in groups of ten, which is delivered as part of a four-part programme involving nursery staff, parents, carers and families. Launched in October 2011 with funding from Inspiring Scotland’s Early Years Early Action Fund, LicketyLeap has currently been delivered to 1009 children from 22 nurseries in multiply deprived areas of North Edinburgh, East Lothian, North Glasgow and Fife. The project has achieved remarkably high levels of parental interest, with 904 parents, carers and family members having attended a LicketyLeap session in nurseries. Funding has now been extended until June 2013. 

LicketyLeap in East Lothian: Current Statistics (January 2013)

 Since October 2011, LicketyLeap has been delivered to 6 nurseries in East Lothian: First Step, Levenhall, Musselburgh Burgh, Prestonpans, Wallyford and Whitecraig. In total:

• 342 children have participated in the LicketyLeap programme in East Lothian.

 • 43 nursery staff have participated in the project.

 • 290 parents/carers have attended a LicketyLeap session in nurseries.

  •   224 parent/carer contact details have been captured.

 • 143 children were sampled for evaluation, with 123 evaluations completed and returned.

 For full evaluation report contact Licketyspit Theatre Company


Homestart – A Volunteers Story

                                                   Homestart is a national charity with the aim of supporting families and children by training volunteers as befrienders. Befriending can have a huge impact on a family which has hit a difficult patch in their lives for whatever reason, but can also be a very positive and rewarding experience for the volunteer.  East Lothian has a very successful Homestart organisation and the following volunteer story is reproduced from the Homestart annual report with their permission.

 Dad of five and grandad of five, Paddi O’Brien, 54, from Dunbar, used to describe himself as a ‘burly builder’ who owned his own construction business until a heart condition stopped him working.  Twelve years on, his life is unrecognisable from the builder he once was.  Instead, his days are now split between being a ‘houseparent’ for his own family and a volunteer for Home-Start East Lothian.

 After a prolonged period of ill health and undergoing his second heart operation, Paddi, then aged 40, was forced to retire from his construction business and re-evaluate his life.  His three eldest children were nearly all grown up but his youngest, twins, then aged eight years, gave him the opportunity to become a full-time houseparent, taking the lead role in managing the home and bringing up the young kids whilst his wife went out to work as the wage earner.

 It was this change in direction that inspired Paddi to start volunteering to support other families.  He says:  ‘I really enjoyed being a houseparent and taking on the main caring responsibility for the twins.  I’d missed so much of our older kids growing up – I always left early for work when they’d still be in bed and returned late so I missed a lot of their upbringing.’

 But with high school looming on the horizon for the twins, Paddi decided he wanted to do more.  He saw an advert about Home-Start East Lothian and decided to get in touch.

 Paddi’s now been volunteering with Home Start East Lothian for over five years.  He says: ‘Male volunteers are a bit of a rare breed when it comes to family focused charities.   People tend to do a bit of a double take when they hear I’m supporting a family but men actually have a lot to offer, particularly acting as a positive male role model.’

 Since volunteering for Home-Start, Paddi’s supported three different families.  He says that it’s as much about the children as it is the parent.  Paddi explains: ‘Home-Start is very well structured, they employ professional staff who in turn give us volunteers fantastic support. 

 ‘I’m basically parachuted into a family and my role with them evolves from there.  I might give support to a dad who feels like he doesn’t know what he should be doing or I might be supporting the mum and helping look after the kids whilst she takes some time out.  Sometimes it’s a combination of many things. The most important role I play in a family’s life though is being someone they can depend on.’

If you are interested in being a befriender contact Homestart East Lothian on

Tel: 01875 616066

Healthy Happy Bairns Conference 7th Feb

Over 170 people from parents to politicians attended the Healthy Happy Bairns conference on 7th Feb at the Quayside in Musselburgh.

There was a lot of positive energy, and emotion, throughout the day which was very well chaired by local parent and former health minister Susan Deacon.

The day started with Councillor Roger Knox welcoming Aileen Campbell the Scottish Government’s early years minister.

Aileen outlined the government and her personal support for the early years agenda and emphasised the importance of early years in the early intervention and prevention agenda which is so important to modernising public services in Scotland.  healthy happy bairns conference ministers speech

As her speech came to an end children from Wallyford and Whitecraig surprised the participants by standing up to sing – ‘Lean on Me’. By the end of the first verse participants were further surprised when the adult members of the Wallyford and Whitecraig ‘Singstars’ stood to join the children singing. By the end of the song the whole conference was on its feet singing and clapping to the rhythm of the song. The young musicians from Musselburgh Grammar who had been hidden behind the conference screen emerged with music teacher Jo Halliday  – too much applause. The ‘flash mob’ singing was fun, but also hopefully made the point that engaging children and parents is key to the mission of Support from the Start and that means we have to think and act imaginatively.

The words of the song  ‘Lean on me’ were echoed in some of the themes that parents who had agreed to speak at the conference brought to the fore. Inga, Michele and two Tracey’s  gave often very personal and emotionally powerfull statements about what had been important to them when they had needed support. Each story was very differnt but I think some of the common themes included:-

– Any parent can need support no matter their circumstances

– Asking for support is not always an easy thing to do and professionals can make this much easier when they listen

– People who need support want to be treated as individual human beings not as a problem, whether that’s defined by medical  diagnosis or social / psychological assessment

– Support has to be accessible in terms of time and place and flexible people orientated services are most valued by parents

 – If we want healthy, happy bairns we have to have healthy, happy parents

 The parents were followed by Don Ledingham, chair of the Support from the Start planning board and Director of Education and Children’s Services for East Lothian Council on the theme of Creating a space for change. He has posted the contents of his presentation on his learning log

Dr Rosemary Geddes gave a presentation in the early development intrument which is being piloted in East Lothian. EDI_SuppFrStart7Feb2012

John Boyce East Lothian Public Health Practitioner & Ann Hume. Manager of Olivebank Child & Family centre in Musselburgh gave a presentation on the evaluation process and findings for Support from the Start. Healthy Happy Bairns evaluation

Over a lunch there was a market place featuring posters of work taken forward by the service champions in East and Midlothia. Pdfs of the poster can be accessed here

HHB Posters 1-5 Final

HHB Posters 6-10 Final

HHB Posters 11-15 Final

HHB Posters 16-22 Final

In the afternoon after a welcome from Jane Hopton assistant general manager for East Lothian Community Health partnership there were three presentations that aimed to set the scene for the afternoon workshops

Karen Grieve, National Programme manager for Equally Well gave a presentation entitled ‘Transforming services an assets based approach’ which outline the ethos and theoretical framework developed through the Equally Well process in Scotland. healthy happy bairns KG slot

Graham Mackenzie Consultant in Public Health for NHS Lothian looked at information resources on childrens health and well being that are available at a community level. Graham MacKenzie

The final presentation / speech was from Ronnie Hill, Head of Children’s services for East Lothian Council in which he set out the vision for the second phase of Support from the Start Ronnies Powerpoint- 07.02.12   Healthy Happy Bairns Conference- The Vision 7.02.12

The workshops were key to the hoped for outcomes for the day there were nine in total one for each school cluster in East Lothian one for participants from the Midlothian test site, one for people with an East Lothian wide role and one for people with a pan Lothan / national role. A seperate post will cover the output from the workshops.

The day ended with reflections from Susan Deacon

Prestonpans Early Years Link Up Group

Prestonpans Early Years Link Up Group Launch on PhotoPeach

Prestonpans Early Years Link Up Group launched at the Pennypit Centre on 17 January 2012 when local parents, carers, professionals, community group reps and politicians joined together to talk about ways we can ACT together to improve opportunities for the youngest children (pre birth to 8 years) in Prestonpans, Port Seton and Longniddry. After hearing how East Lothian Council and Lothian Health are working together to set these groups up in each of the East Lothian clusters, following on from the success of Support from the Start, we split into groups to discuss how the Prestonpans Group can CHAMPION early years so that our babies and young children can have the best start in life.  They are our future. 

Next step in the process will come at the Support from the Start Conference on Tuesday 7 February 2012 at the Quay in Musselburgh.  Watch this space to learn more.

Roots & Fruits

Two East Lothian community grups have worked with schools to develop gardening for learning and health promotion. The work was developed using the champions development fund. The video describes the work they have been doing.