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Liverpool City Region Mayor makes multi-million-pound investment to expand pioneering community-led programme

Liverpool City Region Mayor, Steve Rotheram has granted funding of £5.25m to extend the groundbreaking ‘Cradle to Career’ programme across the region’s most deprived areas, tackling inequalities faced by families in the region.

Cradle to Career was first launched in North Birkenhead in 2021 in partnership with Wirral Council, instigated and funded by the Steve Morgan Foundation, with founding support from SHINE and UBS Optimus Foundation.

It is delivered by Right to Succeed in partnership with over 30 local organisations and has significantly improved literacy standards among children, given families easy access to the support they need, and created more opportunities for local children and young people.

By putting the people of the Liverpool City Region at the heart of education, services and decision-making, Cradle to Career North Birkenhead has brought together 33 community groups and organisations, seen a 42% rise in high-ability readers, and been used as an example of best practice family support in a Joint Area Inspection by Ofsted and CQC.

Following discovery phases in Halton and Knowsley, bespoke Cradle to Career programmes have now been developed for communities in Halton Lea and Northwood.

These will focus on supporting vulnerable learners; reducing the number of post-16 school leavers not in education, employment or training; developing robust facilities and activities for all; and creating a family support hub to support social, emotional and mental well-being in the community.

Further discovery phases are currently underway in Sefton and St Helens, with a vision to continue expansion across all six boroughs of the city region.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“It is a gross injustice that children’s whole lives are mapped out before they ever leave the maternity unit; a postcode lottery dictating their bank balance, the food they can afford, the diseases they’re likely to develop, the quality of the air they will breathe and how long they will live.

“Addressing that imbalance is central to my politics. Cradle to Career is a radical, bespoke approach that works with the communities to identify local issues – and empowers them to come up with the solutions.

“Its results in North Birkenhead have been so impressive that we are investing more than £5m to roll it out across the rest of the region. Too many kids in our region have been held back, not by a lack of talent but a lack of opportunity – but I’m working to put that right.”

CEO of Right to Succeed, Graeme Duncan said:

“We are delighted that the Combined Authority has decided to fund the roll out of collective impact programmes across the Liverpool City Region, helping to realise our vision that every child can thrive from Cradle to Career.

“Our experience working in North Birkenhead on the Cradle to Career programme over the last three years has shown that by putting the decision-making power in the hands of the community and bringing people together around shared aims, you can accelerate the pace of change for children and young people.

“By rolling this out across the region, the Combined Authority is taking the lead, investing in a new approach that will see sustained change and improved outcomes for more children and young people.”

At its launch in 2021, Cradle to Career was one of the most ambitious public-private partnerships ever launched in the UK, boosted by an initial award of nearly £2.3m from the Steve Morgan Foundation, with a further £2.5m for the roll out of the programme across the Liverpool City Region.

Steve Morgan CBE, founder of the Steve Morgan Foundation, added:

“We are incredibly excited to be taking this powerful partnership across the breadth of the Liverpool City Region.

“Good philanthropy and great partnerships are about bringing everyone together to deliver long-lasting and effective change, and Cradle to Career is a true exemplar of this; empowering communities, philanthropy and the public sector to work towards a shared vision to improve the lives of young people and their families.

“It is my hope that other cities and other regions in the UK will consider following suit by doing things differently and putting communities in control of their destinies.”

Right to Succeed announced its growth plans at a prestigious event at the House of Lords last week (Tuesday, September 19), followed by two events in the Liverpool City Region attended by Mayor Steve Rotheram on Thursday, September 28.