Charities are being invited to apply for a share of £3.3m of funding for projects aimed at helping give babies from deprived backgrounds the best start in life.
The Health and Wellbeing Fund, set up by the Department of Health and Social Care, is designed to help community projects improve learning and development, perinatal mental health and prevent obesity.
The fund is also open to applications from charity-run projects aimed at reducing the percentage of babies born with low birthweight, increasing the take-up of breastfeeding, increasing the number of smoke-free homes, improving learning, speech and language development, improving immunisation rates and reducing rates of preventable disease.
Grants of between £200,000 and £510,000 are available over the next three years.
The fund is particularly focused on projects supporting babies from deprived areas or black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.
The successful projects will be fully funded through the scheme in their first year. Additional joint funding from local commissioners will be agreed for two years afterwards.
Jo Churchill, the public health minister, said: “Everyone deserves to live a long, healthy life, and we’re determined to reduce the inequality that some families face.
“We’re committed to start this work from birth, and the voluntary sector has an enormous role to play in its success.”
The Health and Wellbeing Fund is already supporting 23 social prescribing schemes and 23 children and young people’s mental health schemes which are providing important services to communities across England.
Applications will close at midday on 30 October, with successful projects to be announced In December.
More information is available here.