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New £3.3m fund to give babies from deprived communities healthy start in life

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The government has launched a new £3.3 million fund to support babies from deprived communities including black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

The Health and Wellbeing Fund will support community projects in England aimed at improving learning and development, perinatal mental health and tackling obesity.

This new round of the fund has the theme of ‘Starting Well’ to improve outcomes for mothers and babies in deprived areas or from BAME backgrounds from preconception to up to two and a half years of age.

This will pay for three-year projects run by voluntary and community social enterprises (VCSEs).

Public Health Minister Jo Churchill said: “Everyone deserves to live a long healthy life, and we’re determined to reduce the inequality that some families face.

“We’re committed to start this work from birth, and the voluntary sector have an enormous role to play in its success. This year we have launched the Health and Wellbeing Fund which is centred around Starting Well, to make sure mothers have the help they need to make the right decisions to support their health, and the health of their babies.”

The fund is open to applications from charity run projects and the selected projects will be fully funded throughout their three years.

The Health and Wellbeing Fund is already supporting 23 social prescribing schemes and 23 children and young people’s mental health schemes across England.

The fund, part of a programme of government investment in the voluntary sector, is run by the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance, which was relaunched last week.

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