London Early Years Campaign

The Mayor’s London Early Years Campaign aims to raise awareness about early years education and how it benefits children.

It will run from February to October 2019 and has two main strands, which you can read more about below:

•    A social media campaign
•    11 local projects, funded by the Mayor, running creative activities to engage eligible families 

In October 2019, the Mayor also announced a grant of up to £20,000 for a project which will raise awareness of free early education for 2-year-olds amongst families of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and improve early identification of additional needs. Application for this grant will close on 1 November 2019. Find out more. 

Social media campaign

You may have seen our social media campaign on Facebook or Instagram. It encourages families to help their two-year-olds play, learn and make friends through early education. 

Families can find out more through our website, where they can also be directed to apply for a place via their local authority.

If you can help us spread the word about free early education for two-year-olds, download our digital pack. It contains messaging and images that you can share on your own social media.

Local projects

In Autumn 2018, organisations across London had the chance to apply for small grants (of between £5,000 and £15,000) to run creative projects which would engage local families with early education. Through these small grants, the Mayor aimed to reach out to families and communities currently missing out on their entitlement. 

Grants were awarded to 11 successful organisations, who are running projects between February and October 2019, across 10 London boroughs. These organisations and boroughs are listed below – click on each to read more about their plans. 

Family Lives (Westminster)

Our project will focus on the Queen’s Park ward of Westminster. Through one-to-one support, it will help over 400 low income families with complex needs to take up (and sustain) their free early education entitlement. We will target eligible families with a street-level awareness and take-up campaign. This will include door-knocking, coffee mornings and other social events at family hubs and children’s centres, organised with our community partners. We will use electronic tablets to help families apply on the spot, subsequently supporting them to find an appropriate provider and take up their offer.

London Borough of Ealing

Our project will engage and support vulnerable families living in the most economically challenged areas within two wards of the borough. It is evident through consultation with parents, professionals and research, that there needs to be a spectrum of methodologies used simultaneously to achieve the greatest impact. A strong multi-agency/parent partnership will design and deliver five creative engagement approaches, which will result in improved awareness and take-up of free early education for two-year-olds. 

London Borough of Haringey

The ‘Volunteer Community Peer Networkers’ (VCPNs) Project targets families from the communities in Haringey where we believe cultural barriers to take-up exist. The outcomes for children in these communities at the end of the EYFS could be better. We will improve take-up by developing a group of male VCPNs, trained to deliver some key messages about the benefits of early learning for children’s development. Tasked with reaching into the community, the VCPNs will raise awareness of the two-year-old offer and its benefits for children amongst other men within these communities.

London Borough of Newham

Our aim is to address low take up free early education for two-year-olds within the Bangladeshi and Indian communities in Newham. Working closely with the Mayor’s Early Years Hub based in the borough, we will engage the Coram Family and Childcare Trust to deliver a targeted parent champion programme. This will give us better links to our target communities and a greater understanding of possible barriers to take up and how to mitigate these. In line with our findings, we will improve our communication strategies around early education for these communities, for example through targeted flyers and advertising on ATN Bangala UK. 

London Borough of Redbridge

Our project aims to improve the uptake of free early education for two-year olds from households with English as an additional language (EAL) living in Redbridge.  We will develop a resource to promote the two-year-olds offer, using visual, aural and verbal learning styles to communicate with parents in the community, via a digital tool called ‘talking photo albums’. This tool will be tailored to six key community languages (Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Lithuanian and Romanian) and targeted for use with EAL households. The talking photo albums will be used in different community settings, where parents with EAL regularly visit (for example schools, health centres, community and faith groups). The talking photo albums will also be used by Redbridge Parent Champions when they are out in the community settings.

The Limehouse Project (Tower Hamlets)

The Limehouse Project wishes to reach out and engage with particularly disadvantaged households in the Limehouse, Poplar and Stepney wards of Tower Hamlet. Our aim is to address a low uptake of childcare places amongst children who can particularly benefit from creative, educational and outdoors activities to develop their physical, emotional, educational and social potential. Building upon trusted relationships (established over 35 years of engaging with hard-to-reach residents through our advice, training and wellbeing services) we will launch a dedicated awareness campaign engaging marginalised Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) residents. This campaign will include running targeted focus groups, as well as broadcasting TV and radio debates on local community language stations to raise awareness of the benefits of early education.

The Lloyd Park Children's Charity (Waltham Forest)

The Lloyd Park Children's Charity, in partnership with Hackney Play presents ‘Early Childhood Experiences’. Hackney Play Bus is a long-established partner within Waltham Forest and families eagerly flock to this attraction whenever it’s around. Together, we will deliver 24 play sessions around the community, combined with a targeted outreach programme. The programme's aim is to inform parents and carers about ‘how your child learns in the early years’. By targeting those two-year-olds who are eligible for free early education and helping their parents to access nursery provision, we aim to educate parents about the importance of child development.

Manor Gardens Welfare Trust (Islington)

In Islington, children aged two from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) groups are underrepresented when it comes to taking up free childcare. Receiving childcare at this age helps to give children the best start in life and to integrate and support their families. Using bilingual staff, we will work with refugee and migrant families in Islington to raise awareness of this provision, explore the benefits and create information networks to help them access childcare. We will address the barriers to take-up for these groups, explore cultural perspectives, offer bilingual communication and engage the whole family. We will deliver events and outreach into community centres and groups across the borough.

Minik Kardes Ltd (Hackney)

This project will positively impact Turkish and Kurdish speaking families in Hackney (including Albanian, Bulgarian and Romanian residents), who face cultural and language barriers when it comes to accessing free early education for their children. We will:

•    Employ bilingual workers from these communities, to increase parental awareness and confidence around early education
•    Run workshops and forums at community settings, informing target families of the benefits of early education
•    Translate literature, leaflets and application forms, so that our target families are confident with what they are committing to for their children
•    Accompany parents to nurseries, ensuring they are happy with the service offered
•    Support nurseries to work with our target families, helping them to understand the barriers faced (whether real or perceived) when trying to access services

South London Tamil Welfare Group (Merton)

4% of Merton’s population is Tamil. This group are concentrated in East of the borough, which is characterised by disproportionately high levels of socio-economic deprivation and poorer outcomes for children. These characteristics are often exacerbated in Tamil households, where there are often additional barriers to the take-up of early education, such as culture, language and poor social connections. We will partner with local children centres to support local Tamil families to access information, advice and guidance with regards to early child development and the benefits and availability of free early education for two-year-olds. This project will also provide opportunity for early identification of additional developmental needs amongst Tamil families.

Wheely Tots (Haringey)

We aim to improve awareness and take-up of free early-education for two-years olds in the West Green Ward of Haringey. We will:

•    Raise awareness of the benefits of early education 
•    Recruit parent ambassadors to share information through word of mouth with family, friends and neighbours 
•    Engage with local faith and community groups to share information via leaflets, posters, newsletters and websites
•    Create unbranded marketing material so that information about early education information is not seen as ‘top-down’. It will be distributed through local community contacts and therefore be more trusted
•    Support families to secure places with local childcare providers 
•    Create a simple toolkit for families to help them plan walking, cycling and public transport routes to their nearest providers

You can contact us at [email protected] for further information on any of the London Early Years Campaign local projects.

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