How can we make sure that new parents and babies born during the Covid-19 pandemic get access to support?

The Challenge

For each week COVID-19 continues to disrupt, over 12,000 children will be born. Six months of social distancing will see around 300,000 new babies born. Under lockdown, access to healthcare workers, basic necessities, community groups and social support structures are often impossible, leaving parents and children cut off from crucial services that support wellbeing during the first 1000 days. Home-Start UK asked organisations working in this field what could be done.

Covid-19 is presenting real challenges to new and expectant parents and as family organisations we wanted to help parents make sense of what support is available, even under lockdown.

This collaboration is aimed to bring things together, understand any gaps and bring service design expertise from Clear Honest Design, Dartington and Shift to the challenge, so we can respond really quickly.

Peter Grigg, Chief Executive, Home-Start UK

Our response

We’re leading a rapid design response, in collaboration with a network of parent and baby charities, to make sure organisations, practitioners and volunteers supporting parents have what they need to do the best job they can. We are especially focused on supporting vulnerable, at risk and isolated parents and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Our kick-off discussions involved 16 collaborators from 10 organisations including Home-Start UK, NCT, Best Beginnings, Family Action, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (EPEC), The Institute of Health Visiting, Nesta, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Little Village, and Parent Infant Foundation.

So far:

  • 3 x two hour design hops with representatives from baby and parenting charities, plus service designers and developers, rapidly developing concepts
  • Virtual design studio launched to aid collaboration at
  • 6 Lightning Talks by Max Landry from Peppy, Dr Crispin Day from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (EPEC), Sarah Cook from Home-Start Oldham, Stockport & Tameside, Iona Lawrence from Connection Coalition and Dr Shaima Hassan from NIHR, Sophia Parker from Little Village
  • Detailed systems mapping activity completed by Dartington Service Design Labs
  • Refined concept ‘Parent People Boosts’ designed and tested – focused on recognising, supporting and rewarding people playing informal support roles in the sector through the COVID-19 lockdown
  • Learning resources donated from leading UK early years and family support organisations
  • Partnership with Clear Honest Design funded by Catalyst Digital Teams
  • Partnership developed with service and learning designer Rebecca Birch





Led by:

Funded by:


In consultation with:


Do you want to get involved? We'd love to hear from you
Email me -