Cornwall LivingIssue #72

Beating the odds

We learn about Skylar, a programme that’s doing exceptional work to help parents with infants born into complex and often chaotic home environments.

Back in issue 70, we met the team at Trelya, an award-winning charity helping Cornwall’s most disadvantaged families and children. Trelya’s mission is simple: to break the generational cycle of social and economic deprivation, allowing children, young people and families to develop skills, knowledge, awareness, motivation and aspirations necessary to build safe, positive and fulfilling futures.

Trelya’s family team has built a high level of trust in the community over the past 15 years…”

We were recently introduced to Skylar, a ground-breaking programme from Trelya that’s aimed at supporting babies and young children up to four years old who are born into complex, chaotic family environments.

Around 26% of babies in the UK are estimated to be living within complex family situations, exposed to substance abuse, mental illness, or domestic violence. Skylar’s programme assists young parents and their babies in overcoming the negative impacts of such circumstances.

Studies have shown that the earliest experiences shape a baby’s brain development, having a lifelong impact on their mental and emotional health. They’ve also proven that the crucial time for a baby’s healthy development is the 1001 days from pregnancy to the age of two years. What’s more, when a baby’s development falls behind the norm during the first year of life, they’re much more likely to continue falling behind in subsequent years.

Trelya’s family team has built a high level of trust in the community over the past 15 years, enabling them to reach out and help mums who are often unable to access, or are intimidated by mainstream support services. Skylar delivers a solid framework in a flexible and innovative way that responds to children as individuals. It nurtures them through the critical early years, giving them the care and support they need to develop and thrive.

A part of this is providing a programme of musical experiences, partially supported by the National Foundation for Youth Music. Evidence has shown a positive impact of early years music programmes on children’s cognitive and physical development, language and communication, as well as social and emotional skills.

Cat Keene, Director of Programmes and Operations at Trelya tells us: “Having been here for 15 years, we understand the complexities that the children and their families are facing. We’re a generation in now. The girls are now having their own babies and we feel like having access to those children is a real chance to fracture that cycle of deprivation.”

Treasurer Antony Penhaul adds to this, saying: “Our programmes, including Skylar, are free to the end user, but we can only continue to do that with the support of the local community.”

"Trelya’s family team has built a high level of trust in the community over the past 15 years..."