Better Start Bradford Innovation Hub

Background: Better Start Bradford (BSB) have been funded by the Big Lottery Fund to run over 10 years to create, coordinate and evaluate 22 projects to ensure families have all the support and information they need to give their children the best possible start in life, in terms of health, social and emotional development, and language and communication. BSB is a full and equal partnership programme working with families in three parts of Bradford: Bowling & Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton. 

Aims: The Better Start Bradford Innovation Hub is a Partnership between BSB and Born in Bradford. The Innovation Hub unites leading academics from Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, Bradford District Care Foundation Trust, the University of York, University of Leeds, University of Leeds Beckett and University of Bradford to establish a new birth cohort and provide a centre for evaluation of the effectiveness of the Better Start Bradford projects.

Progress: A large research team has been recruited including a programme manager, programme coordinator, administrator, database manager, data analyst, community research assistants (4) and research fellows (8) to work on different aspects of the monitoring and evaluation.

The evidence base on the BSB projects using the Early Intervention Foundation levels has been reviewed, confirming the need for more and better evidence on what works to improve children’s health and development.

In January 2016 recruitment started for the new Born in Bradford’s Better Start (BiBBS) cohort. We aim to recruit 5,000 babies, their mothers and their mother’s partners over the next 5 years, and so far over 1000 women have joined the study. We conduct questionnaires and measurements during pregnancy, and link with information on attendance from the BSB interventions and routinely collected data (e.g. collected by health visitors, schools). We will use BiBBS data to understand the effects of project participation on children’s health and development.

The BiBBS cohort protocol paper has been published in BMC public health.

Plans: Monitoring, implementation evaluation and effectiveness evaluation will be conducted for all BSB projects.

Development of an open access service design, implementation and evaluation toolkit to be disseminated and shared across organisations.  


Evaluating the Impact of Early Life Interventions  Josie Dickerson |


Dickerson J, Bird PK, McEachan RRC, Pickett KE, Waiblinger D, Uphoff E, Mason D, Bryant M, Bywater T, Bowyer-Crane C, et al: Born in Bradford’s Better Start: an experimental birth cohort study to evaluate the impact of early life interventions. BMC Public Health 2016, 16:1-14.