The CASPeR project (Community Action and Support for Pandemic Response) is based in Knowsley, a disadvantaged area in Merseyside, England.
Currently Knowsley is one of the most deprived boroughs in England and the rate of population growth is predicted to put pressure on education and health services.
When the pandemic hit, it had a major effect on everyone’s life. However, for vulnerable families with young children, this has been severely detrimental to their learning and development in schools. They have suffered disruptions to their education, along with delayed developments in socialisation and physical exercise. Communication and language development has been severely affected as a result. Some are about to start nursery with little or no speech.
This project plans to support families who have been identified as vulnerable, working with nurseries and receptions to support the parents and carers of these children, and using a national book scheme to provide age-appropriate books to all children.
The key aim of the project is to reduce the delay in development in 0–5-year-olds caused by the pandemic restrictions by supplying provisions for early year resources to families. We will provide a book each month to every child until their 5th birthday, via the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, with the resources to improve parental engagement in their child’s learning and development.
How did we chose which location to start the CASPeR project with?
- Knowsley has the third highest rate of children with Special Educational Needs (19.2%) and disabilities in England
- Currently 1,200 children and young people have a current Education, Health and Care Plan to support them
- 90 children per 10 000 population looked after in Knowsley compared to 63 per 10 000 population nationally
- There are over 10,000 children living in families in poverty in the Borough
- No. of children aged under 5 living in poverty is increasing
- Average household income is lower than the UK average - net household income ranges from £423 per week to £638
(Source: Knowsley 2030 Evidence Base report)