Grant will give county children a better start

A CHILDREN’S charity will be able to improve its service in Northumberland thanks to a major new grant.

The Big Lottery Fund is allocating millions of pounds to give further support to vulnerable young children across England and one of its grants was awarded to Barnardo’s for use in selected parts of the county.

A total of £398,966 will be used to create community hubs, refurbish and upgrade existing facilities and expand the range of professionals available to families. There are also plans to increase breast-feeding rates above the national average.

It will be spent in the Lynemouth area among others.

Parents were consulted in May through sessions in children’s centres which highlighted problems faced by parents around nutrition, affordable healthy food, lack of tools for parents to support children’s communication and language.

Julie McVeigh, Barnardo’s North East Assistant Director, said: “This is an extremely important opportunity to tackle and address years of economic decline which some of Northumberland’s communities, through no fault of their own, have faced.

“It invests in target areas rich in heritage which are now going to be able to have a real voice in how these resources are going to be used.

“Local people will be involved in the making and forming of plans to benefit them, their children and their communities.

“We are starting from a position of strength, evidenced by Northumberland’s already-outstanding commitment to partnership working and community inclusion.”

These measures will improve the physical and emotional foundations built during a child’s first few years.