Birkenhead’s ‘Cradle to Career’ programme to be rolled out across city region

Local leaders will consider a pioneering £5m plan to improve life chances in some of the Liverpool City Region’s most deprived areas.

Today’s meeting of the region’s Combined Authority will be asked to approve funding to support the roll-out of the Cradle to Career change programme to a further five areas across the Liverpool City Region – following its success in North Birkenhead.

Cradle to Career is a programme delivered in partnership with Wirral Council, instigated and funded by the Steve Morgan Foundation and SHINE, and managed by national charity Right to Succeed.  

The Steve Morgan Foundation and SHINE are committed to the community of North Birkenhead in the long-term, and to extending the impact of this pioneering work across the Liverpool City Region.

Aimed at improving educational outcomes for children and young people, Cradle to Career is focused on delivery in three key areas: education, community and services.  It has brought together residents, local services, professionals, and community leaders to support children and young people in one of the most deprived areas within Liverpool City Region.

If approved, Right to Succeed will help roll out further programmes to one community in each of the city region’s five other boroughs.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said, “One of my driving ambitions as Mayor has always been to lay the foundations for a better future for our next generation, creating a place where young people, irrespective of their background, are given the opportunity to thrive.

“It beggars belief that, in 2022, where you are born still too often determines your life chances – a post code lottery dictating your bank balance, the food you can afford, the diseases you’re likely to develop, and how long you will live.

“I want the Liverpool City Region to lead the way in showing the rest of the country how to support the most vulnerable in our society. Too often, people on our region are held back, not by a lack of talent but a lack of opportunity. But by treating people as human beings, not statistics, we’re helping to give our young people a promise not just of hope, but of opportunity.

“Everyone deserves the chance to fulfil their full potential. We will give the next generation the chance to learn, to better themselves, to embark on a career they’re truly passionate about to build a happy, healthy and successful life for themselves here. Together, we’re building a region where no one is left behind.”

The roll-out programme will see the place-based Cradle to Career approach introduced in five of the city region’s areas most in need, with a wide range of different organisations and agencies working closely with local communities to improve outcomes for children and young people, managed by Right to Succeed. 

Right to Succeed is a charity that works across the country to support communities in areas of high deprivation to deliver place-based approaches that improve outcomes for children, in partnership with philanthropic donors and local and national governments.      

Graeme Duncan, CEO from Right to Succeed, said, “We are delighted that the Combined Authority has decided to fund the roll out of collective impact programmes across the Liverpool City Region. Our experience working in North Birkenhead on the Cradle to Career programme over the last three years has shown that by putting the decision-making power in the hands of the community and bringing people together around shared aims, you can accelerate the pace of change for children and young people. By rolling this out across the region, the Combined Authority is taking the lead by investing in a new approach that will see sustained change and improved outcomes for more children and young people.”

The Combined Authority has supported the pre-development work in Northwood, Knowsley and Halton Lea, Halton and is due to continue that support in St Helens, Sefton and Liverpool.

Mayor Joanne Anderson, Liverpool City Region Portfolio Holder for Education, Skills, Equality and Diversity, said, “We know that some children in our most deprived communities face multiple and complex barriers to achieving their potential.  In order to remove those barriers, we need to see agencies and communities working together. Cradle to Career in North Birkenhead has shown what is possible when that happens, and I am very excited that we are working with Right to Succeed to roll that approach out to the rest of our city region.”

Cllr Janette Williamson, Leader of Wirral Council and Deputy Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region, said, “It is great to see a scheme that has its roots in north Birkenhead is now going to be extended into other areas. The experiences we have during our childhood do help to shape the kind of life we can expect to lead as an adult so initiatives such as this, that provide for our most deprived young people in the areas where they need additional support, is invaluable and will improve their outcomes as they get older.”

In North Birkenhead, Cradle to Career, has had some significant impacts in the first two years of delivery linked to its co-designed interventions centred on the following identified themes:

  • Education – Schools becoming world class in identifying and meeting the needs of their learners
  • Community – The community owning the development of local culture and the local offer, addressing key issues affecting them.
  • Family and Services – Improve the engagement and support of the most vulnerable families and give them the opportunities they need to be healthy and happy. Services completely re-designed in partnership with the local community, driving collaboration through the system.

The first two communities under the Combined Authority programme are in Northwood (Knowsley) and Halton Lea (Halton), with the programme in Northwood also receiving funding and strategic support from Bank of America for the discovery phase.  The pre-development work has been completed and delivery arrangements are being finalised with the local authorities. Right to Succeed anticipate that pre-development work will start in Sefton and St Helens early 2023 and Liverpool later in 2023.

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