Our Story

A better start in life

In the past 2 years, we’ve run 214 activities for families across Lambeth. How many children and parents have we reached? A whopping 1,091. In just one week of our launch, we reached more than 100 families. 

This is just the beginning. We’re on a mission to give every baby, young child, and their families in Lambeth a better start. This means creating more opportunities and stronger offers. We’re doing this by bringing together the diversity and expertise of local community organisations.

Children playing

Where it all began...

Lambeth Early Action Partnership (LEAP) pioneered our work. The 10-year lottery-funded programme improved children’s life chances through investing in early years provisions and knitting local services, like our own, together. It did this in the most deprived areas of the borough.

How did organisations like us get involved? In 2022, LEAP launched its CoCreate Fund. It laid down a challenge: Can your organisation make a positive and lasting change to young children’s lives in Lambeth? We answered its call, and in return, we received funding and support to work collaboratively in the community to improve and widen opportunities for families and their little ones. 

CoCreate compelled us to co-design our new offers with parents of children under 4. We were putting these parents at the heart of our decision-making.

Every 3 months we convened at Learning Networks to share our experiences and to support each other in developing our projects. It strengthened the bonds between us, and our understanding of what each of us offered. This was a vital part of being able to signpost families to wider support in the community.

New partnerships and collaborative working grew organically from these connections. Healthy Living Platform provided the food for Brixton Wings to launch a new food hub. Sunshine International Arts facilitated a carnival session for the Unity Matters dad’s group. There were many more examples.

After working in isolation for years, this network made us feel more supported and energised than ever before.

Team photo of the First 5 Lambeth consortium

First 5 Lambeth is born

Although some of us had already forged successful partnerships, CoCreate was special. We were diverse in our makeup and experience, and we could reach into different communities and expertise.

LEAP provided the support and infrastructure to allow us to work collectively in this way. Unfortunately, LEAP wasn’t going to be around forever, so when one of us asked the question “Could we start a consortium together?”, the answer was a resounding yes.

We spent a year scoping and defining who and what we wanted the consortium to be. First 5 Lambeth was born on Thursday 29 June 2023. The first early-years focused consortium in Lambeth. 


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