A £50 MILLION lottery grant will transform the lives of babies in one of the poorest areas of Bradford.
About 20,000 children, from before birth to three-years-old - the most crucial time for health, emotional and educational development - will benefit from a new ten-year project.
The results could be used to shape national, and even global, policy.
The £48,969,270, from the Big Lottery Fund, has been given to the Better Start Bradford community partnership led by Bradford Trident, which works with families in Bowling and Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton.
The district as a whole has significant deprivation levels and within these wards - where approximately 1,430 babies are born each year - there are high rates of infant mortality and child poverty, low school readiness and high rates of domestic violence and child protection orders.
Bradford Trident Chief Executive Mick Binns said: “This programme will change the future prospects of a whole generation of our children and we are delighted to be working with our communities and partners to achieve it.”
Since March 2013, Bradford Trident, which won a Bradford Council-led bidding process to run the scheme, has been speaking to families.
Better Start Bradford Programme manager Gill Thornton said: "What's really good about our Better Start project in Bradford is that we've got loads of parents involved in it and it's going to be led by the community, so that means It's going to last forever and those messages are going to be spread far and wide
"We're expecting it to be a huge success and to make a massive difference. What we learn in the Better Start area is going to spread across Bradford."
The grant was announced to families at Bradford Trident's Mayfield Centre yesterday.
Big Lottery Fund England Director Dharmendra Kanani said: "It won't be something that they feel is just being done to them. What we're doing here is working with, and for, communities.
"A lot of the mothers here are saying is that this is the first that we feel that we've been listened to, we feel as if actually this is going to be different and actually we feel that children are going to have a different outcome as a result.
"One really very poignant comment from a mother was 'for the first time it feels like I've got a tannoy. For the first time someone is listening to me and I can broadcast across Bradford, but also across England.'"
He said the work would be looked to by policy makers across the world and the longevity of the project would mean the money could make a real difference.
Better Start will include 23 projects, which will be rolled out over the next six months, including the Family Nurse Partnership - a voluntary home visiting programme for first time teenage parents, storytelling groups, outdoor play activities and nutrition programmes.
Midwives’ case loads will be reduced to allow them to provide more personalised care and extra home visits.
The Big Lottery Fund’s A Better Start programme aims to prevent costly health problems such as heart disease and diabetes, social, problems such as neglect, and low educational attainment.
Mr Kanani said: “Parents want the best for their children and as a society we know that what happens in the first three years of life profoundly affects a child’s future life chances.
"A poor start in life can affect your health, wellbeing, outlook on life and how you form relationships. Prevention matters more in the early years as we have a much greater understanding of what can and might improve the life chances of a future generation, that is why this investment is focusing on the three key areas of social and emotional development, nutrition, and language and communication development.
"It's about prevention, it's about working with families, it's working with mothers, it's working from the womb outwards, it's about communities giving their babies a better start."
The leader of Bradford Council, Councillor David Green, said: “This project will help families and young children that live in some of our poorest communities. The resources that have been secured will give us the opportunity to make a real difference to many people’s lives over the next decade.”
The Council's chief executive Tony Reeves said many children who started school in the BD5 areas were currently not ready for it.
“Bradford has one of the youngest populations of any area in Britain. We have to put our youngest citizens at the heart of what we do and prioritise their education and health.
"This project will ultimately bring benefit to the whole of the district and will help us improve the chances of the next generation," he said.
"It's all about parents and children. It's not about me or the Council or anything else. It's about transforming lives, and that's what it will do."
Better Start will work alongside the Born in Bradford study which has been following 13,500 babies since 2007, exploring why some stay healthy but others don't.
More than 7,000 pregnant mums will join Born in Bradford, which will also host an Innovation Hub, led by Professor Kate Pickett, to develop ways to improve health.
Mr Kanani said the exclusive work of Born in Bradford alongside Better Start meant the city had a "unique opportunity".
"Unlike anywhere else in England you've got a generation that's actually being tracked and followed to see the changes in a community and in a population," he said.
"And so for the first time, I think globally, you'll have an opportunity to see what do you need to do to enable a community to have a different and a better outcome and you'll be able to understand what's needed to do that."
The 23 projects will be managed by Bradford Trident, parent and community representatives, the Council, Bradford Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust, Bradford District Care Trust, Bradford City and Bradford District Clinical Commissioning Groups, Bradford District VCS Assembly, West Yorkshire Police, Born in Bradford and the private sector.
Bradford is one of five areas in England sharing £215 million from the Big Lottery Fund’s A Better Start investment and has received the most funding. The other areas are Southend, Nottingham, Blackpool and Lambeth, London