Charlotte Macken

Finalist’s blog #2: Moving Together for a Brighter Future

Moving Together for a Brighter Future has been busy building partnerships and bring services to communities.


So much has happened since my last blog. Ill health means that Spurgeons Children’s Centre has been unable to carry on with our joint project – they’ll be missed!

Going it alone

With this in mind I talked to Ben and Nicole and after much soul searching decided to go it alone, I could see how beneficial the seed funding could be to our organisation and with support from Jacqui at CVS Uttlesford and her many contacts I have been able to navigate my way through the complexities of testing and evaluating ideas, producing a business plan and budget and all within two short months.

So here we so near to the Prize and what an amazing journey I have had!! I showcased our Playbus to a whole host of professionals like Health Visitors, Dental Health, Nursery Nurses, Nutritionists and some private enterprises who were eager to jump on-board Buffy to share their expertise.

As a consequence of the funding, Buffy has been able to provide exciting additional activities in locations such as Flitch Green, Little Dunmow, Carver Barracks, Birchanger and Stansted South which are areas where statistics show high concentrations of vulnerable households with pre-school children (particularly indicated by financial stress and lone parents).

Filling the gaps in service provision

As an organisation we already collect comprehensive information and data and as a result of this we were quickly able to see a gap in provision for specialist activities such as Health Visitor and Dental Health sessions.

Also parents and carers expressed a need for opportunities to develop skills with their babies and young children which would improve their confidence such as Sensory Activities, Baby Massage, Healthy Eating, even Story Time and Singing; the list was endless.

I contacted two local groups one of whom offered musical and story time sessions and the other who could demonstrate baby massage and show parents and carers how to engage with their children in baby sensory activities. Using the funding we were able to offer seven sessions which are still underway and we have already received very positive feedback.

Tackling isolation

One young Mum at Carver Barracks told us that the baby massage session was the first activity she had done with her baby. She has no family network of support nearby and felt really isolated but the session made a real difference to her and she met some new friends.

I have spoken to Health Professionals who are really keen to provide “flexible services without walls”, ensuring that they are able to reach those families who need their support the most and are not confined to seeing them in a clinic. Buffy is the ideal channel for this.

So in the New Year Health Professionals and many other organisations will be jumping on-board Buffy to get their message heard and we will be looking forward to Moving Together for a Brighter Future.



This is one of blogs written by the Families Included Prize finalists. Click here to find out what other finalists are up to.

The Families Included Prize is the first time a challenge prize has been run by a county council in the UK. Essex County Council is working with Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation, to develop and deliver this exciting new way for the Council to engage local communities, as well as discover and support great solutions.

For more information about the Families Included Prize, visit:, and follow #FamiliesIncluded on Twitter.