Over 170 people from parents to politicians attended the Healthy Happy Bairns conference on 7th Feb at the Quayside in Musselburgh.
There was a lot of positive energy, and emotion, throughout the day which was very well chaired by local parent and former health minister Susan Deacon.
The day started with Councillor Roger Knox welcoming Aileen Campbell the Scottish Government’s early years minister.
Aileen outlined the government and her personal support for the early years agenda and emphasised the importance of early years in the early intervention and prevention agenda which is so important to modernising public services in Scotland. healthy happy bairns conference ministers speech
As her speech came to an end children from Wallyford and Whitecraig surprised the participants by standing up to sing – ‘Lean on Me’. By the end of the first verse participants were further surprised when the adult members of the Wallyford and Whitecraig ‘Singstars’ stood to join the children singing. By the end of the song the whole conference was on its feet singing and clapping to the rhythm of the song. The young musicians from Musselburgh Grammar who had been hidden behind the conference screen emerged with music teacher Jo Halliday – too much applause. The ‘flash mob’ singing was fun, but also hopefully made the point that engaging children and parents is key to the mission of Support from the Start and that means we have to think and act imaginatively.
The words of the song ‘Lean on me’ were echoed in some of the themes that parents who had agreed to speak at the conference brought to the fore. Inga, Michele and two Tracey’s gave often very personal and emotionally powerfull statements about what had been important to them when they had needed support. Each story was very differnt but I think some of the common themes included:-
- Any parent can need support no matter their circumstances
- Asking for support is not always an easy thing to do and professionals can make this much easier when they listen
- People who need support want to be treated as individual human beings not as a problem, whether that’s defined by medical diagnosis or social / psychological assessment
- Support has to be accessible in terms of time and place and flexible people orientated services are most valued by parents
- If we want healthy, happy bairns we have to have healthy, happy parents
The parents were followed by Don Ledingham, chair of the Support from the Start planning board and Director of Education and Children’s Services for East Lothian Council on the theme of Creating a space for change. He has posted the contents of his presentation on his learning log
Dr Rosemary Geddes gave a presentation in the early development intrument which is being piloted in East Lothian. EDI_SuppFrStart7Feb2012
John Boyce East Lothian Public Health Practitioner & Ann Hume. Manager of Olivebank Child & Family centre in Musselburgh gave a presentation on the evaluation process and findings for Support from the Start. Healthy Happy Bairns evaluation
Over a lunch there was a market place featuring posters of work taken forward by the service champions in East and Midlothia. Pdfs of the poster can be accessed here
In the afternoon after a welcome from Jane Hopton assistant general manager for East Lothian Community Health partnership there were three presentations that aimed to set the scene for the afternoon workshops
Karen Grieve, National Programme manager for Equally Well gave a presentation entitled ‘Transforming services an assets based approach’ which outline the ethos and theoretical framework developed through the Equally Well process in Scotland. healthy happy bairns KG slot
Graham Mackenzie Consultant in Public Health for NHS Lothian looked at information resources on childrens health and well being that are available at a community level. Graham MacKenzie
The final presentation / speech was from Ronnie Hill, Head of Children’s services for East Lothian Council in which he set out the vision for the second phase of Support from the Start Ronnies Powerpoint- 07.02.12 Healthy Happy Bairns Conference- The Vision 7.02.12
The workshops were key to the hoped for outcomes for the day there were nine in total one for each school cluster in East Lothian one for participants from the Midlothian test site, one for people with an East Lothian wide role and one for people with a pan Lothan / national role. A seperate post will cover the output from the workshops.
The day ended with reflections from Susan Deacon