All the latest news from the Flying Start Team in Luton.
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Kamruh Miah with her e-learning certificate






Welcome to Flying Start News, Issue 3

It is great to be writing this introduction at a point when I have been in Luton just over 12 months and to be able to see much of what we planned for Flying Start during 2014 starting to come into place. It is particularly pleasing for me to be able to say we now have the Family Nurse Partnership Team working with some of our most vulnerable young parents in the town and that alongside the Five to Thrive approach really begins to shape our evidence based practice for the whole workforce as we move forward.

As you will all know we are also consulting on the future shape of our Children’s Centres and it is critical that you all take part in that process (visit the consultation pages here).  My vision is for a joined up delivery of services to all families with children aged 0-5 across the town based on the core Flying Start principles that we have all signed up to. This is particularly important as we all grapple with the financial constraints facing both the public and voluntary sectors so that we can ensure that we use our combined resource to best effect for the benefit of all Luton children and their families.

Sally Rowe
Bump to Babe Parenting Support

Following a review of current antenatal parenting provision, Flying Start has started work on modifying the delivery model for Bump to Babe to provide an increased focus on primary prevention in the very early stages of pregnancy. This change has been introduced particularly in response to feedback from pregnant women who indicated they would like to access more support in the earlier stages of pregnancy.

The Early Pregnancy Club will be available from eight weeks of pregnancy for mothers and has been designed to:
  1. provide information on the key primary prevention public health messages related to pregnancy including physical activity, oral health, diet and nutrition and attachment
  2. allow signposting to local support services including free dental care in pregnancy, stop smoking services, Me Time Family and library services
  3. and provide an opportunity for pregnant women to establish a peer support group.
The club will be running from local Children’s Centres. The first Early Pregnancy Club started at Hatters Children’s Centre in November and consists of a monthly club with a programme of different topics each month. The sessions will be delivered by midwives, with other professionals attending according to the topics covered.

Flying Start will also be introducing a quarterly 'Dads-to-be Club’, run on a similar format to that of the women-only group, and facilitated by a male health visitor and a male young parents worker.  The course is currently being developed and will begin early next year. A culturally sensitive Early Pregnancy Club is also to be developed and will be rolled out next year.

For further information about the Early Pregnancy Club please click here.

Bookings for the Early Pregnancy club at Hatters Children Centre can be made by contacting This club is open to pregnant women across Luton.

Parents-to-be will also be able to access antenatal parenting support later in pregnancy through Bump to Babe, delivered as a three week programme for mothers and fathers. The programme will include a midwifery session on labour and birth, a health visitor session focussing on the impact of a new baby as well as a session facilitated by Children’s Centre family workers exploring topics such as accessing medical support in Luton, home safety issues and safer sleeping advice. This new course will begin in January 2016. Mums and Dads will also be able to access an infant feeding session to support their early feeding choices. Parents can book a place on the new three-week Bump to Babe course via the Luton antenatal support website

Please note that the standard five-week Bump to Babe antenatal course will finish in December. 

For further information please phone Dawn Jones Flying Start Midwife on 07904 085 864.
Family Nurse Partnership has arrived in Luton

After much anticipation and planning, the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) team are now up and running in Luton, based at Marsh Farm Health Centre. The Team consists of a Supervisor - Siobhan Appleton, four Family Nurses - Ginny Bohm, Nikki Burton, Claire Rees and Carrie Tyas, and a Quality Support Officer - Elaine Rutherford.

Family Nurse Partnership is a voluntary, preventative home visiting programme for first time parents under the age of 20. It offers intensive and structured home visiting, by specially trained nurses, from early pregnancy until the child is 2 years old, building a therapeutic and supportive relationship with the family. FNP is a licensed programme, with expected core model elements covering clinical delivery, staff competencies and organisational standards to ensure high quality service delivery with measurable outcomes. The family nurses use licensed material and guidelines for each home visit, using their professional judgement and skill to tailor these for individual clients and their babies.

A robust and rigorous evidence base, built over 30 years in the US, supports the underpinning theories of FNP (attachment, human ecology, self-efficacy) and demonstrates short, medium and long term benefits of the programme across a wide range of public health outcomes. Underpinning theory, woven together within a professional nursing framework produces a unique, strengths-based preventative programme of great depth, breadth and vitality.

The FNP team work closely with the Teenage Pregnancy Midwifery team and are extremely keen to work alongside other partner agencies in Luton. For further information on our service or to discuss how to make a referral, please contact us on:
Telephone: 01582 511032

Me Time Family – to encourage families to get more active from pregnancy to 5 years


Active Luton have been commissioned by Flying Start to deliver an intervention to support families to get more physical activity, starting in pregnancy and supporting opportunities for families with children 5 years and under. The Me Time Family programme is built on the success of Me Time, which has been running in Luton for two years and has evidence to show a substantial increase in the uptake of physical activity in the target group of women and girls aged over 14 years.

The aim of Me Time Family is to reduce some of the barriers to participating in an active healthy life style by providing a FREE for a Go for Less card and a 10 sessions for £10 voucher which can be used in Active Luton leisure centres and in the community sessions that will be taking place across the town. There are lots of activities to choose from, ranging from yoga, aqua babies, swimming to athletic totz!

The sessions are fun and inclusive for all to take part in, please see attached link for the current programme:

For professional information please click here
To take part in the programme, participants will need to sign up with the Me Time Family Flying Start team.

If you have families that you’d like to refer/sign up please email Colby Nicholls-Brown at or call 01582 400 272. Please include participants’ names, address and dates of birth in the referral.

Five to Thrive is taking off in Luton

Five to Thrive supports the children’s workforce by developing their skills and knowledge to help increase parental understanding of the emotional development of their baby. Built upon the emerging evidence about neuro-science and baby’s brain development, this is a systemic approach to early intervention and positive parenting, identifying the key parental activities contributing to brain development and promoting confident, reflective parenting. It enables practitioners to teach and model mindful interactions. So far, over 540 staff have been trained since the introduction of Five to Thrive training in Luton in January 2015.

Five to Thrive training

Five to Thrive is an approach which has been developed and tested to train practitioners to support parents to develop strong attachment with their babies through the use of five simple messages RESPOND, CUDDLE, RELAX, PLAY and TALK.  This simple approach builds on the significant scientific evidence of the importance of these five activities in promoting optimal brain development in babies and young children.

We have some new training dates available:
  • 20th January 2016
  • 23rd March 2016
Follow this link to book on a course.

Five to Thrive – extend your learning with E Learning course

There is an online e-learning module for practitioners interested in extending their learning beyond the initial one day course. Once completed, this module can provide evidence for 10 hours of CPD at Level 3. 

This online module aims to provide practitioners with an understanding of the impact that parents have on the developing brain of their children. It seeks to enable anyone who works with parents to integrate this understanding into practice so that they can explain and consistently model the activities that build and maintain healthy brains, and help develop parental responsiveness and confidence.

Kamrun Miah Children’s Centre Support Worker is one of the first of Luton children’s workforce to complete the training.  She reports: “I have really enjoyed the opportunity to achieve this level 3 certificate. I won’t tell a lie I did find it hard – but I have enjoyed the challenge. My managers at work were very supportive and I was able to do some of the studying at work and we discussed the topics at supervisions and team meetings. I completed the rest at home at weekend and evenings. The study was via a module that I completed online, this was something new to me but it was good as I was able to go back to it when it was convenient to me.
The module required me to reflect on my practice, this gave me an opportunity to think about my role at work and how I was able to support parents that visit the children’s centre. I am so proud that I have achieved this and I would encourage everybody else to take up the opportunity.”  Kamrun Miah says she is so proud that she has completed the certificate.

All staff who have attended Five to Thrive training and have subsequently logged onto the KCA portal will have access to the e-learning module. If you have any queries about accessing the module, please contact Catherine Griffin at the Flying Start office on 01582 548356.

Embedding Flying Start in practice
A group of practitioners, Five to Thrive workplace champions are now meeting termly to share ideas and best practice on implementing Five to Thrive messages in their work. This group is developing a range of new resources, including a series of culturally sensitive posters and guides for parents at different stages of a child’s development: antenatal, in the first year of life, toddlers as well as a guide to support parents with children in early years’ settings.
All these new resources will be uploaded on the Five to Thrive partnership website for those who have attended training and also on the Flying Start website from January 2016.

Safe at Home – Child Injury Prevention for the under fives
Luton ‘Safe at Home’ is a unique child injury prevention programme delivered through a multi-agency partnership led by the Pre-school Learning Alliance in association with Public Health and Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service. Luton are one of the only areas of the country that have such a scheme.
Children under the age of five years are more at risk from an accident in the home than anywhere else. Many of these accidents ARE preventable and our focus is on the most common types of home accidents affecting this age group and their prevention such as: Falls, Choking, Suffocation and Strangulation, Poisoning, Burns and Scalds, Drowning and Safer Sleep.

Home accidents can lead to pain and suffering, avoidable injury, disability or even death and our aim is to help all parents to protect their young children. Those families referred or identified as vulnerable or in need are particularly ‘at risk’ and are a key priority.

The role of professional practitioners and frontline staff in promoting accident prevention is vital if there is to be a long-term reduction in attendances at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital Accident and Emergency department and at GP surgeries.

The scheme provides advice to all families and safety equipment to eligible families with children aged 0-5. We offer free home risk assessment, child safety equipment, fire safety advice and child safety awareness sessions for parents and full time carers. Professional practitioners can also access accredited Child Safety in the Home training or become a home safety advisor for the scheme.
The scheme is open to all families living in Luton and a parent/carer can apply directly or be referred by partner agencies such as Children’s Centres, health visitors, midwives, Flying Start or any other support agency.

For further information on referrals, training or funding to support the scheme contact the Safe at Home Co-ordinator: Elaine Ainsworth
Mobile: 0755 33 48485
Facebook: safeathomecip
Twitter:  @SafeAtHomeCIP
Children Centre Consultation

A consultation on the future delivery of Children’s Centre services in Luton is currently taking place and is open to all members of the public, all stakeholders and all interested parties to respond to. Please use the following link to go to the online consultation This consultation ends at 12pm on Monday 7th December.

For more information

Flying Start Implementation Manager: Christine Rogers
Telephone: 01582 548335

Flying Start Development Manager: Stephanie Cash
Telephone:  01582 547980

Flying Start Community Participation and Volunteer Manager: Joe Biskupski 
Telephone 01582 547980

Flying Start Parenting Coordinator: Gillian Smith 

Flying Start Early Years Nutrition Lead: Louise Morrisey

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