Released on: 23 March 2021

The #WhatAboutUs campaign, launching today, the first birthday of the first babies born in lockdown, is calling on the Government to extend COVID-19 catch-up funding to support the 600,000 babies born in the last year.

The #WhatAboutUs campaign is backed by NCT and the 200 other charities that form the First 1001 Days Movement, including Action for Children, Home-Start UK, the Institute for Health Visiting, Parent-Infant Foundation and NSPCC. It calls for urgent funding to address the ‘baby blindspot’ to support parents and babies to catch-up as the UK begins to emerge from the pandemic.

• Babies have been forgotten by the Government with £1.7bn allocated for older children but nothing for babies.
• COVID lockdown has affected all babies in different ways. The impact for some will be serious and long term if support is not put in place.
• Local authorities reported more than 100 serious incidents of injury and death involving babies under one between April and October 2020, up 50% on the previous six months. Of all the serious incidents involving children in that period, 36% were babies under one. (Ofsted).
• In the recent Working for Babies Report (Jan 2021), 98% of survey respondents said the babies they work with were affected by parental anxiety, stress and depression.

Funding could mean the backlog in health visiting and GP appointments is addressed, and enable public services and charities to reach out to understand families’ needs, identify risks and offer support.

Sarah McMullen, Director of Impact and Engagement at NCT, said:

‘It’s vital that funding is put in place to identify families at risk and provide support for the most vulnerable babies. Pregnancy and the earliest years of life are a critical time for brain development, which lays the foundation for future health and wellbeing.’

The campaign is also backed by Lauren Pope, media personality and businesswoman, who had a baby girl last summer. Lauren said:

‘Babies born in the last year are at a clear disadvantage and have so far been overlooked by COVID-19 recovery funding. Please join me and the #WhatAboutUs campaign and help these little ones to have a voice.’

Support the campaign on social media at #WhatAboutUs. Or visit 1001days.org.uk/whataboutus.

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