Liverpool City Region has welcomed the first early years festival of its kind – the First Five Festival – which is taking place this week across six local authorities.
The free festival aims to bring together parents from across the region and share knowledge and experience, with 15 drop-in events taking place within venues in Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.
Throughout the course of the week, parents can drop into various sessions with topics including perinatal mental health, wellbeing and self-care for both parent and child and have the chance to have their say about services for families with children under five on Merseyside. There’ll also be children’s entertainment events with activities including face painting, glitter tattoos, a petting farm and story times to name a few.
Anna-Louise Van Der Merwe, Trust Director of The Foundation Years Trust, said:
“We’re very excited to be bringing the First Five Festival to the region and to be offering such a wide range of events to support parents of young children in many different ways. One of the post-pandemic priorities we identified was to support parents’ roles in developing infant speech and language skills to close what’s already a working attainment gap in the region, and this series of events will be one of our first steps in making this happen.”
The festival will culminate on Saturday, June 18 with an event in collaboration with PSS at Chavasse Park, which will offer an array of free activities including face-painting and dancing through to storytelling with The Reader Organisation’s Story Barn, crafting with John Lewis and an appearance from Peppa Pig.
PSS Clinical Psychologist Dr Michael Galbraith added:
“Most people can’t remember what happened to them when they were under two years old, but this actually makes this time more important – not less. Experiences get ‘wired in’ to babies’ brains, which is why it’s so important that we support babies and their parents and carers to make the early years as good as possible.
Babies love to feel connected to people, listened to, helped to explore things, comforted and to have fun! Events like the First Five Festival are a fantastic way for parents and carers to take a moment out of their busy lives to slow down, enjoy some time with their families, make some lovely memories together and get tips, advice and support from local organisations if they’d like to.”
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
“Community is, and always has been, the beating heart of the Liverpool City Region. Our people have been leading the way to inspire positive action that has made a real difference to people’s lives for generations – and it’s still the case today.
“The past few years have been particularly challenging for many families across our region, which is why it’s more important than ever that we’re supporting projects with a purpose, that inspire real community spirit. It’s fantastic to see so many charity, voluntary and community groups across our area working together for the common good to give our next generation the best possible start in life.”
First Five Collective, which is a network of 30 organisations headed by Foundation Years Trust, works with a number of partners to support families from pregnancy through to when their child attends school. The First Five Festival is being funded by the Liverpool ONE Foundation, The Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership, The Torus Foundation and the Duchy of Lancaster.