Best Start Communities Count

The Best Start Communities Count project emerged from local people working together to develop Sheffield’s Fulfilling Lives a Better Start lottery bid. This process brought local people together to look at how to improve life for local families in 3 of Sheffield’s most deprived areas. More than 500 people came forward to participate, independent research was conducted with 600 families and we were able to see analysis of a wealth of local data on outcomes for children in our neighbourhoods. From this work we know that the outcomes for children in these areas are poor, that neighbourhoods lack social cohesion and that parents often feel isolated. But this work also revealed a real enthusiasm from local people to work together to improve life for young families which has continued to develop.

In 2015 Sheffield Cubed was awarded £499,990 by the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund, to deliver a 3 year project that will use family based activities to tackle the issues around parental isolation and improve life for families with children under five. Best Start Communities Count will harness the evident enthusiasm of local people to work together to improve life for  families in Manor / Castle, Darnall / Tinsley and Shiregreen / Brightside. Over the last eighteen months more than 150 local people have been regularly coming together developing local Community Partnerships determined to work together to make these areas great places to live and raise a family.

We aim to develop 26 new toddler groups as well as a range of community activities and events driven by the needs of the community. We also aim to train 100 new volunteers to lead this work in our communities and give it a life beyond the initial 3 year funding. The project will be delivered by the Sheffield Cubed Best Start team and guided by the three community partnerships made up of local parents, community based organisations and other partners.

Examples of community activities to date include:

  • Cook and Eat together sessions, incorporating healthy eating, recipe and skills / tips sharing
  • Play Together sessions including active outdoors play when possible
  • Family Fun Days
  • Festive Plate Painting & Christmas Wreath Making

We also look forward to establishing sewing and zumba sessions, storytelling events and a community-driven summer fete or street party for each area.

To date we have run 2 Toddler Group Training Courses for volunteers. The training covers:
  • paediatric first aid
  • safeguarding
  • food hygiene
  • early child development
  • engaging parents/carers
  • practicalities of running a toddler group

A free crèche is provided to enable parents to take up this opportunity.

We are thrilled that we have already helped volunteers to establish 4 new toddler groups; with many more in the pipeline we are confident that we will more than reach our target over the next 3 years. In addition to the toddler groups, we also facilitate free weekly family ‘drop-ins’ during term time.  Activities are provided for children and parents / carers in an informal setting that provides an opportunity to connect with other young families in the local area.

Brightside and Shiregreen

Drop In: Tuesday  9.30-11.30 am Shiregreen United Reformed Church, Valentine Crescent, Shiregreen.

Manor and Castle

Drop In: Monday  12.00 – 2.30 pm York House, City Road, Manor.

Drop In: Wednesday  9.00 – 11.30 am St. Aidans, City Road, Manor.

Drop In: Friday  12.30 – 2.30 pm Corner House, Manor Oaks Road, Wybourn.

New coming soon Tuesday’s at St. Swithun’s, Cary Road, Manor.

Darnall and Tinsley

Drop In: Monday  1.00-3.00 pm Darnall Community Nursery, Staniforth Road, Darnall

Drop In: Tuesday  9.00 – 11.00 am Family Development Project, Chapelwood Road, Darnall

Drop In: Friday  10.00 – 12.00 pm Tinsley Green Centre, Tinsley Green Park, Harborough Road, Tinsley