A snapshot of The Foundation Fund in 2021

February 2020 saw the creation of St John’s Foundation Fund. This was developed with the specific aim of narrowing the Attainment Gap for Key Stage 2 children living in Bath and North East Somerset. Our organisation’s manifesto echoes this commitment, and we have been funding areas of focus that best support children aged 0 to 12 years old and their families.

Now, nearly two years on, we wanted to share an update of the work achieved by the Fund throughout 2021.

Early Years

Aim: to ensure all children in Bath and North East Somerset are ready to transition into primary school.

How we worked to achieve this aim:

Language for Life – In July 2021, St John’s Foundation collaborated with HCRG Care Group (formerly Virgin Care) and BaNES Council, to launch the Language for Life project. This project focuses on supporting pre-school children to reach their age-related expectations in communication and language development before they transition into primary school settings in Bath and Keynsham.

Language for Life offers a refreshed, area-specific early years approach to speech and language development. With the support of a newly appointed lead Speech and Language Therapist, Early Years practitioners are offered the opportunity to adopt the Wellcomm communications and language toolkit; an evidence-based assessment and intervention programme designed for use by Early Years practitioners with no additional specialist skills required.

Perinatal Emotional Wellbeing Partnership (PEWP) – Initially funded by the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the BaNES Perinatal Emotional Wellbeing Partnership (PEWP) supports the mental health of mothers in the period immediately before and after the birth of their children. The PEWP brings together NHS midwives, HCRG Care health visitors, BaNES children’s centres and several local charities to support new mothers experiencing mild-to-moderate mental health needs, through a range of one-to-one and group-based interventions.

St John’s awarded match-funding alongside the CCG to fund three organisations to deliver services as part of the PEWP. These services were:

  • Bluebell Care – A structured, 11 week, therapeutic, group programme for mothers experiencing ante and post-natal depression and/or anxiety
  • Bright Start – Specialist, trauma-informed, one-to-one counselling
  • Open Space – Arts-based group psychotherapy sessions

Combined, these services support approximately 75 beneficiaries per year.

 

Nutritious Food

Aim: to ensure nutritious food is accessible to all families across Bath and North East Somerset

How we worked to achieve this aim:

Over £100,000 was awarded to projects that provide access to affordable food and wider support in our community. These included:

  • BaNES Council – funding for the role of Public Health Officer in relation to food insecurity.
  • BaNES Council – supporting the local authority to carry out bi-annual Health and Wellbeing Surveys across all local primary and secondary schools
  • FareShare SouthWest – supplying nutritious food to many affordable food projects run by charities across Bath and North East Somerset
  • Holiday Activities Fund – funding 11 small-scale summer holiday projects for disadvantaged children
  • Oasis Hub – start-up costs for a pantry project in Southdown, co-funded with Feeding Britain
  • Schools – grants to support breakfast club provision for schools accessing our Primary Empowerment Programme

 

Primary Empowerment Programme

Aim: To ensure all children across Bath and North East Somerset meet their educational age-related expectations for Key Stage 2

How we worked to achieve this aim:

During 2021, we engaged with the seven primary schools that have 40% of the most disadvantaged primary school children in BaNES to provide pupils with additional support with foundational reading, writing, oracy, and mathematics, as well as emotional support.

£820,841 was released to fund six delivery partners to support the seven schools under the strands of oracy; reading and writing; numeracy and emotional and behavioural support. The schools themselves have also received funding to directly support their reading and writing work.

The Primary Empowerment Schools are:

  • Castle Primary School, Keynsham
  • Roundhill Primary School, Southdown, Bath
  • St Keyna Primary School, Keynsham
  • St Martin’s Garden Primary School, Odd Down, Bath
  • St Mary’s School, Writhlington
  • St Michael’s Junior Church School, Twerton, Bath
  • Twerton Infants School, Twerton, Bath

The schools also received a further £7,000 each at the beginning of 2021 to support them through the pandemic. They were encouraged to use this funding to support activities the children would have otherwise missed out on. Uses of the funds included reading books, swimming lessons and a school dog.

What’s next?

Our next, and arguably most important phase, is to measure the impact that all these funded programmes are having. All delivery partners were selected due to their knowledge and expertise in the areas St John’s is aiming to address; however, time will tell how successful they will be.

To help us do this we have recruited educational experts ImpactEd to be our external evaluation partner.

We will be releasing a report at the end of 2022 to demonstrate the impact the Foundation Fund programmes are having on children’s lives,