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Baby Week Leeds
Baby Week Leeds launched in September 2016, is an early years initiative helping to bring and celebrate services from across the sector together for one week.
Baby Week Leeds toddles into town for the third time this week with more than 70 events happening across the city!

Leeds was the first UK city to use the Semana do Bebe idea, an initiative founded in Brazil, supported by UNICEF. Baby Week Leeds is supported by Child Friendly Leeds, NHS Leeds, and sponsored by Leeds Cares.

Following the first Leeds Baby Week, the city has been sharing best practice around the UK with Hull and Bradford launching their own Baby Weeks this year and interest from other UK cities. These developments have led to Baby Week being registered as a charity in its own right.

Leeds City Council is also working with St Edmund’s Nursery School in Bradford, developers of the ‘50 things to do before you’re five’ project, alongside colleagues from Leeds Community Healthcare, to bring this to the city. ‘50 things’ was developed with families to produce a resource that offers experiences to build skills and language, supports brain development in young children, as well as being great fun. It is based on the simple idea that doing fun, low-cost or no-cost activities with your family, and talking about them, is a great way to support the growth and development of your child’s confidence and skills.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children and families said:

“As a city, we are working hard to deliver on our ambition for Leeds to be the best city for children and young people to grow up in, and are committed to placing children and young people at the heart of everything we do.”

“ ‘50 things to do before you’re five’ is a fantastic partnership initiative that encourages parents to get involved in a range of activities with their young children that will have a positive impact on their lives and help parents and their children share a variety of life experiences.”

“The scheme not only supports vital bonding between parents and their children, but reflects Leeds’ core priorities to support all children and young people to have fun growing up, be happy and healthy, and be ready for school. I am delighted that Leeds is able to support a new idea that embodies all of these values through its aims and outcomes.”

“ ‘50 things to do before you’re five’ will transform the way that we interact as a city with children, young people and their families, and I am excited about where this project will take us in the future.”

Claire Holding, Children’s Speech and Language Therapist for Leeds Community Healthcare said:

“The app will be promoted by health professionals across the city as it supports early positive interactions between families and children from before they are born, to school age. It aims to inspire varied experiences which form those early building blocks for children to draw upon when developing their language, communication and social skills.”

Families and their experiences are at the heart of Baby Week Leeds 2018, with the theme of the week are ‘Better Conversations’. The opening ceremony on Monday12 November will be attended by parents, professionals and families and feature the launch of the ’50 Things’ app.

The launch will be followed by a one day conference at Leeds Marriott Hotel for professionals, sponsored by Leeds Cares. Leeds Cares supports Leeds Teaching Hospitals to provide healthcare and wellbeing for the people of Leeds and Yorkshire. The conference will focus on topics ranging from infant mental health and better conversations at birth to breastfeeding and early years. Mums will be among the conference speakers, sharing moving stories of coping with the very toughest challenges that pregnancy can sometimes bring, such as mental health and bereavement.

A host of fun, free events will also be going on across the city, including 50 activities celebrating ‘50 things to before you’re five’. With over 30 children’s centres across Leeds joining in, events will include exploration and discovery, messy play, sensory play, breastfeeding and next steps support and much more. Leeds Libraries will be launching their new programme ‘Ready Steady Readers’ and have events at libraries across the city, including a baby photo booth, Rockabye Roadshow and Opera North’s ‘Little Singers’ sessions.

Later in the week, the NHS is inviting new parents and parents-to-be to help shape maternity, early years and breastfeeding in the city, by sharing their experiences of the support they have received. There will also be an opportunity for them to give their views on NHS plans and suggests ways of having better conversations with professionals. Parents can drop in at the Kirkgate Market Event Space on Friday 16 November, 12-3pm to take part in this session.

Also on Friday, Leeds City Museum is inviting babies to their Multi-Sensory Morning & Tiny Tigers Crafts. The celebrations continue on into the weekend, with a Baby Week Play, Pamper & Parents event at The Light Leeds from 11am – 4pm on Saturday with information stalls, sensory play, baby massage and some time to relax with Leeds Lush. Finally, on Sunday 18 November, Leeds Dads will be hosting their monthly event at The Tetley for dads, granddads, uncles, etc. and their children.

For the full schedule of events, please visit: www.babyweek.co.uk

The celebrations continue with the first ever Baby Week Bradford happening from 19 – 24 November. National Lottery funded Better Start Bradford and partners will play host to over 40 events across the district to celebrate their amazing babies, families, and the professionals working with them through pregnancy and the earliest years of their child’s life. More information:

For further information and a full programme of events, please visit www.babyweekbradford.org