A Better Start - National Evaluation
About A Better Start
A Better Start is the ten-year (2015-2025), £215 million programme set-up by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. Five A Better Start partnerships based in Blackpool, Bradford, Lambeth, Nottingham, and Southend are supporting families to give their babies and very young children the best possible start in life.
Working with local parents, the A Better Start partnerships are developing and testing ways to improve their children’s diet and nutrition, social and emotional development, and speech, language, and communication. The work of the programme is grounded in scientific evidence and research.
A Better Start is place-based and enabling systems change. It aims to improve the way that organisations work together and with families to shift attitudes and spending towards preventing problems that can start in early life. A Better Start is one of five major programmes set up by The National Lottery Community Fund to test and learn from new approaches to designing services which aim to make people’s lives healthier and happier. Learning and evidence from A Better Start enables The National Lottery Community Fund to present evidence to inform local and national policy and practice initiatives addressing early childhood development.
The A Better Start - National Evaluation
The national evaluation of A Better Start (ABS) is being undertaken by the ABS national evaluation team led by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) with their partners: University of Sussex; Research in Practice; the National Children’s Bureau; and RSM.
The ABS national evaluation team are working with ABS grant funded partnerships based in Blackpool, Bradford, Lambeth, Nottingham, and Southend to achieve the following four evaluation aims:
- To draw upon the evaluation objectives and provide evidence for primary audiences (ABS grantholders and partnerships) and secondary audiences (commissioners – including local and national government - and local and national audiences).
- To provide evidence to support ABS grantholders to improve delivery outcomes throughout the lifetime of the programme.
- To enable the Fund to confidently present evidence to inform policy and practice initiatives addressing early childhood development.
- To work with local ABS evaluation teams to avoid duplication of evidence and enable collation of evidence from local evaluations.
The national evaluation of A Better Start will run from April 2021 until March 2026.
More information about the evaluation activities can be found in the national evaluation study protocol (pdf).