Funded Travelling Fellowships for people working in Early Years Prevention and Intervention

Published: 10 May 2016

Funded Travelling Fellowships for people working in Early Years Prevention and Intervention

In 2017, The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust will be investing around £1.3 million in British citizens, by awarding 150 Travelling Fellowships.

This will directly support British citizens who want to travel overseas to gain knowledge, experience and best practice to benefit others in their UK professions and communities, and society as a whole.

"The essential task of the first year of human life is the creation of a secure attachment bond of emotional communication between the infant and the primary caregiver" - Dr Alan Schore, Neuropsychoanalyst, UCLA

Travelling Fellowships will be awarded in the hugely important area of ‘Early Years Prevention and Intervention’.

An estimated £16.6 billion is spent by the government on issues affecting young people which could be addressed by early intervention, including unemployment, youth crime and mental health problems1, meaning that investment in this area could make a real difference to both the exchequer and young people’s lives.

This category will run as part of the final year of a partnership with Wave Trust, and also The Dulverton Trust, who are very interested in supporting charities working in this area. Since the start of these partnerships, 20 Fellowships have been awarded in this category, an investment of over £130,000 in British citizens.

People involved in policy and delivering programmes, in particular via primary prevention, that give children aged 0-3 years the social and emotional bedrock they need to reach their full potential, are encouraged to apply.

Those working with charities on practical programmes in this area are particularly encouraged to apply. Successful Fellows who work for charities in this field may be eligible to apply to The Dulverton Trust for funding to implement programmes they have researched on their Fellowship.

Areas of particular interest include proposals to investigate intervention systems and approaches which:

1. Promote secure attachment and prevent disorganised attachment.

2. Promote infant mental health.

3. Prevent the occurrences of physical or emotional abuse or neglect in the lives of children from birth to age three.

4. Promote good couple relationships and prevent domestic violence during pregnancy and in the first year after a child’s birth.

5. Provide targeted support for mothers, fathers or families where there are ‘at risk’ situations for children’s wellbeing – such as substance abuse, mental health issues, domestic violence, or prior history of the parent having been abused.

6. Demonstrate best practice in taking children into care where it is considered unsafe or impractical to leave them with their birth parents.

7. Provide pre-natal support to parents to foster the healthy social and emotional development of their future children.

8. Promote good ‘attunement’ (responsive parent-infant bonding) between parent and child.

9. Are universal in scope and ensure the best possible start in life for children’s social and emotional development.

Lucy Potter, a family outreach worker from Leeds, wanted to investigate practices which could improve parental engagement in family support services. She travelled to the USA and Brazil, and in both countries observed effective parent participation programmes, delivered through a broad range of organisations. In Brazil, Lucy was invited to speak at 'Semana do Bebe' (Baby Week),  an annual event attracting families, professionals and students interested in the early stages of babies’ physical and mental development. Over 17 years it has helped influence local policy, reduce infant mortality and mobilise communities in Brazil. Inspired by what she had seen, Lucy is now working on replicating the success of Semana do Bebe in Leeds. A steering group, whose members include academics, health visitors, the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, Leeds Children Centre Family Services and Home-Start, are planning a programme of events in September 2016. The event will provide a platform on which mainstream and third sector family support services can come together to promote their services and share best practice, thereby helping to engage wider participation for isolated families seeking support. Leeds will be the first English-speaking country to replicate the Semana do Bebe model, with an aim to roll out the programme to other cities in the UK.

Among those travelling this year, in this category, are:

  • Dr Jenny Griffiths, a clinical psychologist and infant mental health specialist from Bishopston. She will be going to Australia and the USA to explore ways of helping infants traumatised by family violence.
  • Dr Suzanne Smith, from Huddersfield, who is Assistant Director of Nursing with the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. She will be travelling to Canada and the USA to study approaches to primary prevention of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Successful applicants must demonstrate the commitment, the character and the tenacity to travel globally in pursuit of new and better ways of tackling a wide range of current challenges facing the UK, and upon their return work to transform and improve aspects of today’s society.

A travelling sabbatical for people with the drive, determination and desire to help others, can further their leadership and role model abilities.

Employees who are awarded Fellowships bring great benefits to their employers, not only in terms of the positive impact on their personal development, but also with the advantage of their enhanced knowledge, new ideas and examples of best practise that they bring back to the organisation.

Applications are judged purely on project merit, and these opportunities are available to all UK residents over the age of 18, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Successful applicants will receive an average Fellowship grant of over £6,000, covering return airfare, daily living costs, insurance and travel within the countries being visited, for approximately six weeks overseas.

Notes to Editors

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was established shortly after Sir Winston’s death in 1965, as his national memorial and living legacy. Since then it has awarded over 5,250 Travelling Fellowships.

The application process for travel in 2017 is now open, and there are 14 varied categories in which people can apply.

Churchill’s beliefs and passions are still living on through the Fellows – who are remarkable individuals, representing a wide range of backgrounds, qualifications, interests and professions, but sharing the desire to do something for the improvement of individuals and communities in the UK.

The deadline for the 2017 applications is 5pm on Tuesday 20th September 2016.

In total 150 Fellowships were awarded in the UK in 2016, an investment of over £1.4 million. The Fellows are currently travelling to 52 countries between them, across 6 continents, carrying out a wide range of projects.

To maximise the impact of the Fellowships partnerships have been developed with other organisations, focused on specific areas of concern and relevance for the UK today. Lessons learnt from overseas travel are effectively coordinated and disseminated, and incorporated into best practice in the UK for the benefit of others in similar communities and professions.

Wave Trust works to break the damaging cycles of family dysfunction and child maltreatment through research, advocacy and implementation of a primary prevention approach – preventing harm before it happens.

The Dulverton Trust  is an independent grant-making charity that award grants to a wide range of national or multi-regional charities operating mainly in England, Scotland or Wales. It is particularly interested in supporting charities carrying out practical early years intervention.


  1. From Spending on late intervention: how we can do better for less, Early Intervention Foundation, February 2015