Babies in Lockdown: Building Back Better, Tuesday 15th September, 5pm.
The APPG met on Tuesday 15th September to discuss the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on babies and their families, and how we can use this crisis as an opportunity to improve support for families in the first 1001 days.
It was a fantastic meeting with a great array of speakers and wonderful attendance from around the UK. There was lots of passion, energy and enthusiasm as the speakers talked about the importance of giving babies and toddlers the best start in life and shared their commitment to making a difference.
Nearly 300 attendees joined the event live. For those that missed it, a recording of the meeting can now viewed online here.
- Becky Saunders from Home-Start UK presented findings of the Babies in Lockdown report produced by Best Beginnings, Home-Start UK and the Parent-Infant Foundation. Becky gave a detailed account of the impact of lockdown on parents and their babies, and the many challenges families’ have experienced. Her slides are available here.
- Sally Hogg from the Parent-Infant Foundation talked through the work that charities have been doing to influence Government policy during the pandemic to bring babies and their families to the fore. Sally explained the three policy recommendations made in the Babies in Lockdown report, including a proposal for a new Parent-Infant Premium. Sally’s slides are available here.
- Two mums, Laura and Dee, shared their powerful experiences of being a new parent during the lockdown.
- Children's Commissioner, Anne Longfield, lent her support to calls to “put the youngest children at the forefront of recovery” from the pandemic. Anne also discussed issues around the fragmentation and lack of coordination of services, and how the most vulnerable children fall between the gaps. Anne described how Government’s ambitions to “level up” must start at the earliest opportunity.
- Sharon Hodgson MP explained about the Early Years Commission that she is chairing with Edward Timpson MP.
- Jo Churchill MP, Minister for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care, attended the meeting and shared her reflections. Jo talked about building on the positives and learning lessons from how services have adapted during the pandemic. She also discussed the need to tackle local variation in services around the country.
- The Government's Early Years Health Advisor, Andrea Leadsom MP, shared her excitement about the review which she is chairing. Andrea described the scope of the review, which aims to set out a vision for “what good looks like” by January and then to drive action to make this happen. The review will involve listening to many stakeholders through expert groups, visits and a survey which is being launched at the end of the week. Andrea explained how she is “more optimistic than ever” that there will be change for babies and their families.
- Catherine McKinnell MP talked about the Petitions’ Committee’s work around extending maternity and paternity leave and support for new parents. Catherine explained that, following the Government’s response to the Committee report, they will continue to push for action on these issues. “This is not a job done, it’s a job just begun”.
Many of the speakers, and Chair Tim Loughton MP expressed support for the Parent-Infant Premium policy proposal. You can read more about the proposal and how to support it here https://babiesinlockdown.info/
The audience asked many questions, some of which didn’t get answered during the session. We will share written answers to these questions in due course.