Home-Start is delighted to be supporting “Shaping Us” - a new campaign launched by HRH The Princess of Wales to increase public understanding of the importance of the first five years of a child’s life. 

Shaping Us, a new long-term campaign from The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, aims to transform public awareness of early childhood. Spearheaded by The Princess of Wales, the campaign is supported by a range of experts in early childhood and high-profile figures from media, music, science and sports. Home-Start is proud to back the campaign. 

The campaign was launched at an event at BAFTA in central London with the release of a short animated film, highlighting how babies and children develop in response to their earliest experiences. The film is underpinned by the latest science and evidence base about child development. 

Her Royal Highness, The Princess of Wales spoke at the event highlighting her personal commitment after a decade of working in this area and was joined by the musician, Rokki, performing the song from the animation. Other guests included His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, TV presenter, author and podcast host Fearne Cotton, rapper Professor Green and artist and presenter, Rochelle Humes who powerfully set out why she is behind the campaign.

Speaking about the launch, The Princess of Wales said: “All of society has a role to play in this, even if you are not directly involved in a child’s life, because we are all responsible for building a more compassionate world in which our children can grow, learn and live.

In these difficult times, it is more important than ever to help support parents and caregivers provide loving, safe and secure homes for their babies and young children to thrive.”  

In the film, a girl called Layla navigates her way through experiences as a new born, a toddler and young child from her parents’ cuddles, to starting nursery and building friendships. The aim is to demystify some of the evidence base underpinning child development.

Reflecting on the campaign and launch event, Peter Grigg, Chief Executive of Home-Start UK said: “We know that supporting children and their parents and carers in the critical early years can positively shape future outcomes and this has been at the heart of Home-Start’s work for 50 years. Yet, there seems not to be any wider societal understanding and acknowledgement of just how important it is to protect and enable positive, nurturing experiences in this period.

The Princess of Wales and the Royal Foundation, have identified this gap and Shaping Us has the potential to make a step change in our societal commitment and understanding of the early years. In doing so, I’d hope the campaign can bring more focus and investment to early years and family support which is so desperately needed at a time when so many families are struggling.”

“It is great that the Royal Foundation has worked with charities and experts, including Home-Start, to inform this campaign and I know Home-Start staff and volunteers will want to help amplify such an important message.”

The Princess of Wales has previously met with families supported by Home-Start. In November 2022 she visited Home-Start Hillingdon as part of a visit looking at integrated care for mother's experiencing maternal mental health issues. In September 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, she met with mums in a park to hear how their Home-Start volunteers made a difference during lockdown. In 2015 Her Royal Highness visited a children's centre run by Home-Start Greenwich and observed a Home-Start volunteer training course. 

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