Almost three-quarters of mothers feel as though they needed more support during their pregnancy and the first few years of their children’s lives, a poll suggests.
Of 1,900 new mothers, 71% said they would have welcomed more help, according to the survey conducted on behalf of the Big Lottery Fund, which distributes good cause funding from the National Lottery.
The organisation has launched an initiative which aims to help some of the most vulnerable children in England by giving help and advice to parents during the early years of a child’s life.
It has awarded £5m in funding to voluntary and charity organisations across the country so they can provide a range of services including breastfeeding programmes, improving access to community nutritionists and the running of relationship classes for parents and children.
The money will also be put towards creativity and story sessions for youngsters and substance misuse and support, domestic violence prevention and smoking and alcohol cessation services for parents.
Nat Sloane, chair of the Big Lottery Fund England, said: “Sometimes parents do not always know what is best for their children despite wanting the best for them.
“If all parents knew that they could take steps in pregnancy and the first years of their child’s life to help them in later life by reducing the risks of getting heart disease or diabetes, helping them to achieve better grades in school or even improving their chances of a successful career, surely parents would want to know how. We know they want more support - 71% of mothers say they do.
“Costly health and social problems can be traced back to some children not having a good start in life. A Better Start will aim to stop harm to a child before it happens by providing the right support in those crucial years between birth and the age of three.
“No mother wants to see their child end up in prison, suffer poor mental health or have no sense of self worth. Helping parents give their children the best possible start in life will not only have a positive impact on society but will also mean less costly spending treating entrenched problems later on.”
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