We build capacity in communities by supporting parents and carers, and we enable collaboration across the public, private and voluntary sectors to achieve sustainable change in early year outcomes.

“When you first came here, I thought you were the same again – people waving a cheque for a short time and then leaving. But you are different. You have listened. You are supporting us to do what we know needs to happen.”

Community collaboration in action

It takes a community to raise a child and Thrive at Five embeds itself in the communities we work with to strengthen the systems that support parents, carers, and children. Our local teams are recruited from the local community, and they start by discovering the opportunities and challenges to help every child achieve their potential. Together with parents, carers and organisations working in the early years they design the best approaches. We also recruit and train voluntary and paid Parent Champions to help design and implement projects.

Our national team supports our local pathfinder colleagues with guidance, additional expertise and by securing funding or technical support from partners.

Action on early years in Stoke-on-Trent

In Stoke-on -Trent, the first Thrive at Five pathfinder, we agreed with the Local Authority to focus on two areas where children were experiencing the poorest outcomes, Bentilee and Abbey Hulton. Recruiting and working with parents, carers, Parent Champions and public and voluntary organisations, our national and local team and used data to understand the factors that were negatively affecting good child development and a plan to influence these factors together.

Projects co-designed and delivered so far are supporting hundreds of babies, toddlers and young children. From birth babies are welcomed into new Parent Baby and Toddler groups in family hubs, community centres and schools. Parents and carers who were alone at home have places to meet each other: Spaces where they bond and play purposefully with their babies and children and get advice and support from Parent Champions and expert practitioners. The ‘Ready Steady Stoke’ initiative provides tools and introductory sessions for parents and carers so they can prepare their children for the transition to nursery and school. In schools trained university students are providing the extra capacity that teachers need to deliver evidenced language and communication support to large numbers of children who need extra help.

"Thrive at Five has taken us on an amazing journey, the children and the families in our community are benefiting – there is no doubt about it. I pledge to keep the magic alive, to make sure the transitions, parent mornings, toddler groups and coffee mornings keep going. Thrive at Five has facilitated that for us, giving us the help that we needed … and is the super glue.”

Six stepping-stones towards strong foundations for life and learning

In all the activities and approaches that we develop with communities we target six stepping-stones on the route towards the strong foundations children should have in place for life and learning at age five.

1. Communication & language development

2. Attachment and responsive parenting

3. Parental wellbeing

4. Quality of home learning environment

5. Quality of education and care

6. Strength & unity of the early years system