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Better chances for Copeland children

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Tuesday November 22 2016. For immediate release


PARTNERS have come together to create better lives for families in Copeland.

Copeland Council is working with the Howgill Family Centre on the 'Pre-birth and Beyond' project, funded by United Utilities, Copeland Community Fund and the Howgill Centre.

The Pre-birth and Beyond project will invest in children and parents, especially those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. It is launched this Friday, November 25, at 11am at the Howgill Centre on Catherine Street in Whitehaven.

A child's development from conception to the age of two is crucially important and has been found to have lasting impacts on the rest of the child's life.

The project will include a programme of new-born visits from Howgill staff, promoting emotional and physical development, as well as parenting capacity. There will also be encouragement to breastfeed, and intensive support will be offered to teenage parents, including access to the new Whitehaven Foyer supported accommodation.

Partners hope the work will result in confident parents and healthy, well-developed children.

Brenda Holden, Chairwoman of the Howgill Family Centre, said: "This is an investment in activities that have a demonstrable impact on social wellbeing. As a result, more children from Copeland's most disadvantaged areas will be able to compete on an equal footing with other children when they enter the school system."

Copeland Mayor Mike Starkie added: "There has to be real intervention to address the areas of severe deprivation that exist throughout Copeland. I want to see the gap between the haves and have-nots narrowed and eventually closed.
"As a father myself I want every child in Copeland to have equal opportunities so that their aspirations become realities because children matter.
When I learned that some children arrived at school clearly under-developed and with poor communication skills I was very concerned. I am therefore pleased that, partnering with United Utilities, Copeland Community Fund and of course our delivery partner Howgill, we are tackling these issues head-on.
"The Pre-birth and Beyond project is a key part of Copeland Council's social inclusion policy and will bring positive outcomes to parents and their children.

John Hilton, United Utilities project director for West Cumbria, said: “We are delighted to support this important scheme which will give a better start to young families in the area. As a major employer in Whitehaven, we try to lend support to worthwhile community schemes where practical, and this project clearly has potential to deliver lasting benefits to local communities. We wish it every success.”

David Moore, Chairman of Copeland Community Fund,