Case Study

A Better Start

Client: Big Lottery Fund | Sectors: Social Policy, Regions and Cities

A Better Start (ABS) is a ten-year £215 million National Lottery funded programme set up by Big Lottery Fund. ABS partnerships based in Blackpool, Bradford, Lambeth, Nottingham and Southend are supporting families to give their babies and very young children the best possible start in life. 

Working with local parents, the ABS partnerships are developing and testing ways to improve their children’s diet and nutrition, social and emotional development, speech, language and communication. The work of the programme is grounded in scientific evidence and research.

We have been contracted by the University of Warwick (Warwick Consortium) since January 2015 to manage and provide the learning and dissemination element of the £7m longitudinal evaluation of the ABS programmes.

The learning and dissemination work stream includes a programme of activities that ensures the outcomes and lessons from the national evaluation are promoted and shared amongst interested stakeholders. This includes dissemination of the formal reports from the evaluation through producing summaries and multi-media content, running workshops, policy round table sessions and conferences, as well as hosting the evaluation website. We have also worked directly for the funder on a wide programme of learning to ensure a coherent, collaborative approach to the dissemination of learning, both within and beyond the intervention areas with the purpose of influencing and changing practices over time.

Building on the experience of the ABS programme as the learning and dissemination partner, we have secured a contract to evaluate the Big Lottery Fund's national communication campaign to promote children's early social, emotional and language development. The campaign, targeted at the primary caregivers of children aged 0-4, is being delivered as part of the A Better Start programme. Our research brings communications evaluation methods together with impact evaluation techniques, specifically video data capture and computer assisted personal interviewing survey work alongside qualitative interviews and digital data monitoring, to capture evidence of potential behaviour change in the targets of the campaign. 

Key Experts

Katharine McKenna Associate Director