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Frequently asked questions

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Flying Start aims to make a decisive difference to the lives of children in the most disadvantaged communities.
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Information about the Flying Start programme.

What is Flying Start?

Flying Start is one of the Welsh Government’s key Tackling Poverty Programmes and is a Programme for Government commitment. Taking Wales Forward 2016-2021 makes specific reference to the Welsh Government’s intention to continue the Flying Start programme. The programme is also an integral part of the Prosperity for All Agenda, which includes the priority area of the early years. 

Flying Start is working in some of Wales’ most deprived communities, alongside other programmes such as Families First, helping to shape the future of our children and improving their chances of going on to lead a healthy, prosperous and fulfilling life.  Independent evaluation of the Programme has highlighted the many positive effects families feel Flying Start has had on their lives.

Am I eligible for Flying Start?

You will need to contact your Local Authority directly through their Family Information Service.  A list of all Local Authority Family Information Service is provided below.

What services are in my area?

To find out what Flying Start services, or any other support, is available please contact your Local Authority’s Family Information Service. 

The Family Information Service provides free, impartial help, support and advice on a range of family issues in addition to childcare including:

  • Childcare
  • Healthcare
  • Education and Training
  • Leisure services
  • Finances

How much does Flying Start cost?

The programme is funded by the Welsh Government; those eligible for Flying Start receive its services for free.

I live near a Flying Start setting/area but I am not eligible, why?

Whilst we continue to support as many families as possible through Flying Start, this is a geographically-targeted programme which means the boundary must fall somewhere and not all children can be eligible.

Families with higher income than mine are eligible for Flying Start but I am not, why?

Flying Start is a geographically targeted, not means tested programme, so how much money a household earns is not taken into consideration.

How do Local Authorities choose in which areas to deliver Flying Start?

As Flying Start is not a universal programme, it is geographically targeted using income benefit data provided by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). For the purposes of Flying Start targeting, each County is broken up into smaller areas called Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs).  These Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) are what your Council use to deliver Flying Start.  

The data provides Local Authorities with information on areas with the highest proportions of children under four years of age living in households in receipt of income benefit. In general, those LSOAs with the highest proportion of income benefit households are those which are designated as Flying Start areas, though there is some discretion for Local Authorities to vary this using local intelligence such as data on employment status and NEETs ('Not in education, employment or training'), information on public health and on child protection and looked after children. Our guidance directs Local Authorities to prioritise the LSOAs in a ranked list in order of the highest concentration of disadvantaged children.

Sometimes the Local Authorities deliver a proportion of Flying Start provision to children and families outside of a Flying Start area as part of the outreach element.

What is Outreach? 

The outreach element enables Flying Start services to be delivered to high need children and families living outside recognised Flying Start areas.  It is for Local Authorities to determine the best way of doing so within the budget agreed by the Welsh Government.

Local Authorities have the ability to use 5%, of their revenue budget to fund outreach.  However, it is important to recognise that this flexibility will very much depend on whether the Local Authority is under the target number of children set for them by the Welsh Government (the CAP). Any Local Authority working at or beyond their CAP number is unlikely to have sufficient revenue available to support an extensive outreach service.

How much has this Programme cost the Welsh Government?

For the period of 2006-2019 Welsh Government has invested over £628 million in revenue funding to the Flying Start programme, along with over £62.5 million capital funding in developing the infrastructure needed across Wales to deliver the programme.

Have we answered your question? 

If not, please email us at flyingstart2@gov.wales   

How do I make a complaint about an experience I have had with a Flying Start setting?

Please contact your Local Authority’s Family Information Service in the first instance.

If you wish to make a complaint about the Flying Start Programme itself, please email flyingstart2@gov.wales or write to:

Children and Families Division
Welsh Government
Cathays Park
Cardiff
CF10 3NQ

Flying Start Review

We are currently undertaking a review of the Flying Start programme to ensure it remains fit-for-purpose.